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Merrimack store sells Powerball winner

Union Leader Correspondent

January 07. 2018 9:03AM
Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack sold the winning Powerball ticket for Saturday's nearly $560 million jackpot. (Courtesy)

There was a lot of excitement at Reeds Ferry Market Sunday morning after the winning ticket for Saturday's Powerball jackpot was sold at the Merrimack store. From left, Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, store clerk Kathy Robinson, who works weekends, and store owner Sam Safa. (Courtesy)

MERRIMACK — New Hampshire has done it again.

A single winning ticket for Saturday's whopping $559.7 million Powerball jackpot was sold at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack.

"I'm very excited for whoever won it. There's a lot of excitement in the store," said store owner Sam Safa, who got the news of the big win around 5 a.m.

Lottery officials learned that the winning ticket was sold in New Hampshire shortly after 11 p.m. following Saturday night's drawing.

It's the second big Powerball win in New Hampshire in less than two years. A winning ticket for a $487 million jackpot was sold at Hannaford in Raymond in July 2016.

The winning numbers were 12, 29, 30, 33, 61 with a Powerball number of 26.

The winner's identity remained a mystery Sunday. Lottery officials said the winner had not yet come forward.

Reeds Ferry Market, located at 601 Daniel Webster Highway, was abuzz over the news with customers showing up to announce that they weren't the winners. The store will receive $75,000 for selling the winning ticket.

Safa said he doesn't know the winner, but said he hopes it's someone local.

"Most of my customers are townees and regulars, but I always have some passersby," he said.

Safa has owned the store for 14 years, but he said it's been around for about 100 years and is one of the top lottery retailers in the state.

"We always have big winners, but never a jackpot," he said.

Safa said he never expected his store would sell the winner.

"This is what we dream about," he said.

Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, said he was "stunned" when he heard that the state had another big jackpot winner.

"I got the call around 11:20 p.m. and said, ‘You're kidding.' It's an amazing feeling. This is the best part of our job," he said.

The winner, whose numbers were picked by the machine, will have to decide whether to take the $559.7 in payments spread out over 30 years or take it in one lump-sum cash option worth $358.5 million before taxes.

Saturday's jackpot was the sixth-largest in Powerball history. The $487 million jackpot won in 2016 was the seventh-largest and was claimed through a trust known as the Robin Egg 2016 Nominee Trust.

McIntyre said New Hampshire has now won two of the Top 10 largest Powerball jackpots.

While the odds of a big winner in a small state like New Hampshire aren't great, McIntyre said, "It shows the odds sometimes favor us."

New Hampshire Lottery spokeswoman Maura McCann said she was speechless when she heard about the second jackpot winner.

"It just proves that we have the best lottery players in the world right here in New Hampshire," she said.

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