Powerball fever: Big lottery buy feeds at Reid's

With a multi-state lottery soaring toward a record $550 million dollar payout, Powerball fever has exploded– with one enterprising pair of jackpot-seekers appearing at downtown Charlottesville's Reid Super Save market to buy a few tickets: 1,300 to be precise.

"Are you freaking kidding me?" exclaimed the grocery shopper in line behind brothers Ben and Greg Lang on November 28. "You are gonna run out the paper."

A little over three hours before the Wednesday night announcement of the winning numbers, the brothers were creating a minor commotion at the Preston Avenue store. The two, who grew up in Southern California, say they chose Reid's in the hopes that any winnings would reverberate through a local business that serves urban working people.

Ben, a 29-year-old with eight years of military service including special ops, recently left his job as a defense contractor in the D.C. area to launch a pair of start-up businesses in Charlottesville. He has already created a software company called Guildsmith but hopes to fund as many as 40 start-up businesses if this pool of 73 participating investors– dubbed the Boat Fund– wins the lottery.

His brother, 34-year-old Greg, who runs his own film production company back in California, explains where their ticket pool got its name.

"The dream," he says, "is to end up on a yacht somewhere kicking back and enjoying the fruits of our labors."


The Powerball ended up producing a $587.5-million jackpot for a pair of teams– neither of which bought its tickets, alas, at Reid's.

"We won $138," says Ben Lang. "That's not a lot of money when we spent $2,600, but we ended up having a lot of fun."

–story updated with epilogue at 3:48pm on Tuesday, December 4

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Gotta love a volunteer tax.

If Reid's wins that money, the grocery store will close. How's that going to help the urban area?

The way I understand how the Lotto's work is that the store that sells the winning ticket(s) gets a bonus/kickback for selling that ticket. I think that's why the brother's chose Reids. Reid's wouldn't get the full benefit of the powerball lottery but they would get a significant reward and probably more customers as a part of that.

Had Reid's sold the winning ticket, I think they would get $100,000.

Well there is $2600 well spent.