Richard Ravenscroft’s small store in Maryland’s Allegany County sold a winning $731.1 million Powerball ticket this week — the fourth-largest for Powerball and the sixth-largest U.S. lottery jackpot.
Ravenscroft, 77, said Thursday the phone at his store, Coney Market, has been “ringing off the hook” with calls from news media and local residents.
“I didn’t win, and I don’t know who did,” he said, adding: “It’s quite a large amount, and it sort of boggles your mind. We hope it’s somebody who deserves it.”
The winner might never be publicly known. Maryland is one of a handful of states where winners can remain anonymous, along with Delaware, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Wyoming.
The wining numbers were drawn Wednesday, and the jackpot is the biggest prize for the Maryland lottery, officials said.
The winner can choose to get payments over 29 years, increasing each year by 5 percent, or get a lump-sum payment of $546.8 million — before taxes. The winning numbers were 40, 53, 60, 68, 69 and Powerball 22. The jackpot winner matched all six numbers.
Ravenscroft said his store — and the town of Lonaconing, population roughly 1,200 — has not had this much attention in quite a while.
The area is best known for being a place that used to depend on coal mining and now relies on strip mining for employment and support. It is the birthplace of Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove, a Hall of Fame pitcher who at one point played in Baltimore for a minor league team called the Orioles.
“I’ve not seen this much excitement here in Lonaconing in my lifetime,” Ravenscroft said.
Ravenscroft, who used to be a real estate appraiser, said he bought the store about six years ago from the Powell family, who had run it for three decades. He renamed it Coney Market — short for Lonaconing.
Coney Market sells bread, milk and beer, among other items. In a small kitchen and seating area, the market’s specialties are sub sandwiches, hand-dipped ice cream and hamburgers. The building where the store sits dates to 1905 and used to be a house, then an auto repair shop and gas station.
Jack Coburn, who has been the mayor of Lonaconing for 25 years, said Thursday he was told who the winners are through acquaintances but would not reveal their names, out of “privacy and respect.” He said he doesn’t know if the couple — who he said are longtime residents of the town — will reveal their identities.
But he said they are nice, community-oriented residents and he is happy for them.
“There’s so many bad things in the news right now, and this is something that is great and great for the individuals,” Coburn said. “They’re very well-deserving. They’re down-to-earth people, and you just couldn’t ask for anybody better than them to win.”
Ravenscroft said the store will receive $100,000 for selling the winning ticket. After taxes, Ravenscroft said, he plans to give some of the money in bonuses to his 11 full- and part-time employees, then put some back into his business to expand the kitchen.
Most of Ravenscroft’s customers, he said, are locals — moms buying milk or men on their way to blue-collar jobs or professionals headed to Cumberland for office jobs. He said many had stopped in or called to ponder who may have won.
Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica said in a statement that “this is a truly exciting day for Maryland as we wait to see who will step forward to claim the jackpot.” Another winning ticket for $2 million in a Power Play drawing was sold at a store in Hagerstown, lottery officials said.
The last time Maryland had a similar winning jackpot was in March 2012, when a $656 million Mega Millions prize was claimed anonymously by a group calling itself the “Three Amigos.”
The odds of winning such a large jackpot are about 292 million to 1.