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Store gets lots of attention after selling winning lottery ticket

Jun 1, 2009, 7:47 am

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Mega Millions

Crowds of customers packed into Chase's Cigar Store in the Eastwood section of Syracuse Sunday, hoping some lottery luck would rub off on them.

A customer at Chase's Cigar Store on James Street purchased the winning Mega Millions ticket worth $35 million dollars last week. Ever since the news broke, business has been booming.

"I mean that's such a big thing with all of the states that are involved and this is the first time NY State has had a first prize winner, so it puts you on the map, its really cool", said store owner, Robert Fantacone.

Some customers say the store is now lucky because someone there hit the jackpot.

"I'll still buy a lottery ticket and hope that I'm the next one", said Mike Kinahan of Syracuse.

The Mega Million dollar question on everyone's mind now is, who won? Right now, no one knows, it's a big mystery, but either way people are hoping its someone local and someone in need.

"We hope its somebody who needs the money, that will put it back into the area and do good for everybody" said Fantacone.

"In this economy right now, its so hard, whoever won this money, I hope they enjoy it and enjoy life", said weekly customer, Antione Stanley.

The winner matched all five numbers: 23, 30, 36, 39, 48, and the Mega Ball number 34.

The winner cannot claim his or her prize until the New York Lotto customer service center opens Monday morning. Until then that person should sign his or her name on the back of the ticket and put it in a very safe place.

If the winner lives Onondaga County, they must claim their winning ticket at the regional office in downtown Syracuse.

The owner of Chase's Cigar Store is hoping the person who bought the winning ticket is one of his regular customers — and remembers who sold it to him or her.

"Best case scenario, it's somebody that we know that's been a regular for years, and they'll show us their gratitude by giving us a nice hefty tip," said Bob Fantacone, who owns Chase's Cigar Store at 2823 James St. with his wife, Shawn. "That's the best case scenario. If not, you know what, it's great. I hope it's somebody that needed the money. I hope it's somebody local that pumps the money back into Central New York."

Fantacone may be getting a tip from the state. The state lottery web site states retailers will be eligible for a $10,000 bonus for selling a jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket.

Fantacone said he's not sure if the bonus is still available, but will find out today.

Fantacone said he has no clue who bought the ticket for $1. State lottery officials know it was sold at his store. The winner has a year to claim the money, though Fantacone thinks the lucky person will come forward this week.

In the 26 years he has owned the convenience store, Fantacone has sold three lottery tickets that turned out to be big winners — prizes of $100,000, $52,000 and $35,000. But this is the first time the store has sold a ticket that has made someone a millionaire, he said.

Is Fantacone hoping people will view his store as a "lucky spot" and come there to buy lottery tickets, bringing him more business? You bet he is.

"You get struck by lightning, what are the chances you're going to get struck again?" Fantacone said this afternoon. "But that's not what people think. Some people have filtered in today to congratulate us and to play a ticket, and we'll have people coming in all week from all over the city to play a ticket because once you have a winner, they think that now that's a lucky spot. We welcome it, obviously."

Chase's Cigar Store in Eastwood sold Friday's winning $35 million Mega Millions lottery ticket.
Chase's Cigar Store in Eastwood sold Friday's winning $35 million Mega Millions lottery ticket.

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