When Adam Shahinian found out that his winning Fantasy 5 ticket was sold at the La Crescenta store where he purchases his lottery tickets each day, he jumped in his car and drove there rather than checking the numbers online from home.
He asked the clerk at Gardenia Market & Deli if anyone had claimed the July 5 prize yet and used the ticket machine to check. Turns out he had won $286,539.
“I started jumping up and down. I couldn’t believe it,” Shahinian stated in a California Lottery news release.
Shahinian buys coffee and soda at least once a day from the market at 4121 Pennsylvania Ave.
He plans to use his prize to invest in a local business, saying in a prepared statement that “La Crescenta is a wonderful small town and I want to help build the economy here – I love it here!”
Raymond Cherfane, owner of Gardenia Market & Deli, has known Shahinian as a loyal customer for nearly 12 years.
"It was very touching. I’ve known him since day one, since we opened store," Cherfane said. "He’s lived in La Crescenta for almost 25 years. He came by yesterday and really made me very happy."
Customers like Shahinian come to the market for a large deli selection, imported and domestic beer and wine. The location has come close to having a winner before, Cherfane said.
In the past, the store has missed the Mega Millions by one number, but as far as jackpot, this was the first time, he said.
"We’d like to give back to the community and one of the ways we can give back is have a big winner in our store and it happened," Cherfane said. "We’re ecstatic. We’re so happy that it happened for us."
When a fire in 2003 caused major damage to the shopping center and nearly closed the market, customers continued to support the local business when they reopened.
"We endured a fire in 2003 that started in an adjacent plaza and we came back," Cherfane said. "A lot of people told us that if we made it through the fire that it’s good luck. We rebuilt and stuck around."
Gardenia Market & Deli also earned a small bonus of one half of one percent of the winning amount just for selling the top prize-winning ticket. Lottery players can win Fantasy 5 by matching five numbers out of a field of 39.
-- Nicole Charky, firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow on Twitter: @NicoleCharky