The Midway Market & Liquor, a modest establishment in the quaint town of Frazier Park, California, is suddenly on the map for a reason its owners never imagined. The store, nestled north of Los Angeles, sold the winning ticket for the colossal $1.765bn Powerball, making it the second-largest Powerball drawing in history.
Janea Herrera, who works at the store, was initially doubtful when she heard the news. “I genuinely believed it was some kind of prank,” she said. The enormity of the win was hard to fathom, especially given the tranquil nature of Frazier Park, which boasts a tight-knit community of just 3,000 residents. “This town is characterized by its serenity. On a clear night, the stars are your only company,” described Herrera.
With 30 years in the business, Nidal Khalil, co-owner of the Midway Market & Liquor, expressed his excitement. Speaking to the LA Times, the 54-year-old, who co-owns the store with his sibling, said, “It’s high time! We’ve been in this business for three decades, and our customers truly deserved this.” News of the store’s success spread rapidly, and soon, the Khalil brothers were inundated with well-wishes from all over California and Syria, their homeland.
While everyone’s curious about the winner’s identity, Khalil hopes it’s a familiar face. The store is a morning haunt for many of Frazier Park’s retirees, and over the years, Khalil has shared countless conversations with them. “Our customers are more like friends. I’m wagering it’s one of our regulars. Someone in town will surely recognize them if not,” he commented.
Given the store’s location, a bit off the beaten path and away from major highways, Herrera emphasized that most of their patrons are locals. “It’s not a place you’d just stumble upon. You’d have to set your GPS to find us intentionally,” she joked.
This jackpot came to fruition after 36 previous draws failed to find a winner, as the Los Angeles Times reported. Powerball’s staggering odds, standing at 1 in 292.2 million, are deliberate. The intention? To accumulate substantial prizes that lure in more participants. This recent win trails only the record-setting Powerball jackpot of $2.04bn, won last November by an Angeleno, Edwin Castro. Opting for a one-time payout, Castro walked away with just shy of a billion, pocketing an astounding $997.6m. Another notable mention from this year was the ticket for the sixth-largest Powerball prize, worth $1.08bn, sold at a mini-mart in downtown Los Angeles.
While the winner of this latest jackpot remains a mystery, there’s a clear silver lining for the Khalil brothers. The store is entitled to a $1m prize for its role in selling the golden ticket. It’s not every day that such a windfall graces a small-town store, making this a momentous occasion for both the owners and the community of Frazier Park.