Customers at the 7-Eleven at 201 S. Washington St. in Falls Church weren’t buying doughnuts to go with their coffee Tuesday.
Instead they were buying multiple Powerball tickets hoping to win the estimated $500 million jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing. At $2 a pop, some customers bought several tickets from the location that sold a $1 million ticket in August.
“I’m hoping one of the tickets I bought is the winning ticket,” said John Thornton, of Falls Church, who bought five tickets Tuesday morning. “Even if I win $1 million, I’d be happy.”
Falls Church residents have had luck winning the Powerball lottery recently. Besides the $1 million ticket sold in August, two other Falls Church residents have cashed in winning tickets worth $1 million apiece—a winning ticket was sold on March 3 this year, and another March 19, 2011. In June of 2010, a Falls Church man won $250,000 with a ticket purchased at a 7-Eleven near his home.
Almost everyone who stepped foot in the Falls Church convenience store purchased at least one Powerball ticket. The chatter in the line amongst potential winners was filled with tentative plans of vacations, retirement and for one customer, paying off student loan debt.
Crystal Lonerghan’s daughter has racked up more than $78,000 in student loans getting both an undergraduate and Masters degree and the proud mother said that’s where the first of her winnings would go. Lonerghan, of Arlington, said she wouldn’t know what else to spend the money on if she won.
“I have everything I want and need so I don’t know what I would do with the money if I won other than pay off my daughter’s student loans,” said Lonerghan who bought two tickets. “I guess I could go on vacation but I like working so I guess I would have a nest egg for my grandchildren when they come along?”
John Hagerty, spokesman for Virginia Lottery, said they expect to see $6 million in tickets sold before the 10:59 p.m. drawing statewide. Increased national ticket sales have bumped the jackpot from $425 million to an estimated $500 million.
Between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Hagerty said an estimated 372,000 tickets per minute would be sold. The higher the jackpot the more ticket sales they see, he said.
“Powerball and Mega Million are jackpot driven games,” Hagerty said. “When people see that jackpot increase, it drives up sales.”