Is it the draw of having big lottery winners? Friendly customer service? A great, high-traffic location? No matter what it is, it’s clear that certain Cleveland locations are more popular than others when it comes to purchasing lottery tickets.
Mike Bycko of the Ohio Lottery says there is a multitude of reasons that keep customers coming back again and again.
“There’s not one single reason that makes a location popular,” he explains. “Location plays a fact, but customer service plays a big role. Friendly, reliable service keeps your players happy and coming back each week.”
We talked to some of the most popular lottery retailers in Cleveland counties and got their take on what makes them the popular kids in town.
Cuyahoga County’s Smith & Snow Prymas Shell
5918 Smith Road in Cleveland
Total sales (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 12, 2010): $6.3 million
Total redeemed (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 21, 2010): $2.8 million
For some local lottery players, it’s all about the superstitions.
“We’ve had a lot of winners here,” says manager Julie Kuhar. “Sometimes people have heard of it, and the more winners you have, the more people want to play here.”
She admits having gasoline available also helps draw in customers, as well as a location close to the highway, but she says that when it comes time for a big jackpot, players come from far and wide.
“When it’s a big jackpot and in the news, there’s a lot of excitement,” she explains. “That’s when you have people calling and asking how to get here.”
Geauga County’s Middlefield Mini Mart
15965 E. High St. in Middlefield
Total sales (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 12, 2010): $918,000
Total redeemed (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 12, 2010): $506,000
It’s all about the luck in Middlefield. A high number of winners and word-of-mouth in the small town are what Emma Byler from Middlefield Mini Mart believes brings in lottery players.
“We’re just lucky,” she laughs. “We’ve had a lot of big winners.”
The customer service also helps, she adds.
“We’re really friendly,” she says.
Lake County’s Convenient Food Mart
29100 Lake Shore Blvd. in Willowick
Total sales (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 12, 2010): $2.4 million
Total redeemed (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 12, 2010): $1.4 million
Honesty is the best policy in Lake County. Being friendly and honest with customers about how much they have won and explaining rules and regulations is what Kam Kand believes brings lottery players into Convenient Foods in Willowick.
“Sometimes when people win more than they thought, we tell them how much they’ve actually won,” he says. “With the new Powerball starting, a lot of people don’t know how to play, so we tell them the best way.”
A lot of regular customers come in mostly every day, Kand adds, and he says location is another reason for being a popular lottery retailer.
“Location always helps,” he explains. “You want to be in the right place, where you can get in and out easily. A good neighborhood helps, also.”
Lorain County’s Abbe Road Drive Thru
514 Abbe Road in Elyria
Total sales (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 12, 2010): $1.8 million
Total redeemed (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 12, 2010): $1 million
For Beth Ann Zaatar, owner of the Abbe Road Drive Thru in Lorain County, it’s all about customer service.
“I would say our customer service is why we are a popular lottery retailer,” she explains. “We always have friendly, fast and efficient customer service.”
In addition to great customer service, Zaatar, who has owned the store with her husband for 20 years, credits a “hometown” feel that “people like.”
Zaatar often runs promotions that help bring in customers, she says.
“I always run freebies. You can put a losing ticket in a box and win a free replay, a spin-and-win wheel if you purchase a certain amount of lottery tickets; you can possibly win $25 or gift certificates,” she notes. “Promotions help people and really make the place tick. I’m willing to give to my customers since they give so much to me.”
Medina County’s North Court Beverage
998 N. Court St. in Medina
Total sales (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 12, 2010): $902,000
Total redeemed (from Jan. 1, 2009, through April 12, 2010): $496,000
When Medina County residents pass North Court Beverage, spot the signage outside and pop in, they can expect service with a smile, says Ken Carver. In fact, he says it’s one of the reasons the location is a popular lottery retailer.
“It’s because of my employees and the great dispositions they have,” he explains. “Lottery players like to play where they feel welcome.”
Although the store has a lot of regulars, Carver says it’s a good location in a high-traffic area with lots of signs outside that draw in new customers.
“People go by and say, ‘Let’s try this spot!'”