EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 4, 2013

Scratching the surface

By Bill Kirk

---- — METHUEN — Black pearls may be rare, but winning $1 million on a state lottery scratch ticket is becoming almost commonplace at the Route 110 Convenience store at 196 East St.

Last Wednesday, Bruce Ahern, a Lawrence man, scratched his way to riches with a $5 Black Pearls ticket. He has already claimed his $650,000 lump sum prize, which will be whittled down to a mere $455,000 after he pays state and federal taxes.

He plans to use the money to buy a car, pay bills and help out his family, according to a press release from the Mass. State Lottery Commission.

He wasn’t the only winner in the game.

Hasmukh Vora, owner of the store, will get $10,000 for selling the winning ticket. It is the fifth $1 million ticket sold at the store in the last five years.

“This is a very lucky store,” said Miriam Laureano, 42, of Lawrence, who was buying scratch tickets at the store Friday. “Every week in November and December I won $100 here. Then I won $150.”

Since then, it’s been $5 hits here and there, but no big money hits.

Chris Torrisi, 28, of Methuen, said he won $1,000 at the store in December.

“It is a lucky store,” he said. “My friends win here all the time.”

Vora proudly displays all the winning tickets on the walls of the store. One sign proclaims that the store doled out $4.3 million in winnings to its customers last year alone.

Lottery officials said that Route 110 Convenience does very well, considering its size.

“There are stores that wait forever for that one, $1 million ticket,” said Lottery spokeswoman Lisa McDonald. “To sell five of them is really good.”

The granddaddy of all lottery agents, however, is also in Methuen.

Ted’s Mobil, on Route 28 near the New Hampshire line, has sold six, $1 million tickets, but it has also sold a total of 30 major grand prizes over the years, for a total of $110.8 million

“Nobody can touch Ted’s in terms of sales and prizes,” she said. The store, resembling a miniature casino, has sold two, $4 million tickets, 16 Mass. Cash tickets at $100,000 each, one $42 million ticket, a $35 million Big Game ticket, and a $17 million Mass Cash ticket.

Sales last year at Ted’s were about $15 million while at Route 110 sales were around $4 million.