Owner of market in tiny Md. town on selling $731 million Powerball ticket

The phone keeps ringing at Coney Market in tiny Lonaconing, Maryland, not only with lunchtime orders for a Sloppy Joe or Dagwood sandwich, but to ask owner Richard Ravenscroft about selling this week’s jackpot-winning Powerball ticket worth $731.1 million.

Ravenscroft said he first heard the big news by phone.

“The Lottery Commission told me at 7 o’clock, yesterday morning,” Ravenscroft told WTOP. “And they gave me a pretty good number of what the jackpot was.”

Lonaconing — with a population of 1,214 in the 2010 Census — was an iron and coal town in the mid-1800s, and the birthplace of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove in 1900.

Ravenscroft said he’s been selling lottery tickets for about six years at the store, about 150 miles northwest from Washington, D.C., in Allegany County, Maryland.

“They also told me I’d be receiving a bonus for selling the winning ticket — that bonus would be $100,000,” he said.

Asked how he intended to spend his prize: “Well, I know exactly the first thing I’m going to do —  pay my taxes,” he joked.

After that, “I’m going to calculate how much to give to my employees, and then I’m going to keep the balance, and do some improvements on the store,” he said.

He said he has no idea who the winner or winners are.

“In Maryland, you don’t have to reveal your identity, and apparently this person has chosen to at least delay revealing whoever they are,” he said.

The winner will have the choice between an estimated annuity of $731.1 million, paid in 30 graduated payments over 29 years, or a lump-sum payment of $546.8 million — before taxes, of course.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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