For years, the “J-Team” – a group of coworkers at Home Furnishings Association member Jordan’s Furniture in Nashua , N.H., – went through the same routine: Everyone kicked in $2 and the group bought a fistful of Powerball lottery tickets at a convenience store across the street from their store. Then, after missing out on a big prize, the group shrugged their collective shoulders and tried again the next week.
Only this week was different. This week one of the J-Team’s fistful of tickets matched all five winning numbers but not the final Powerball number, which means that this week the J-Team won $1 million.
If the winning ticket had the Powerball number 5 instead of 22, the J-Team would’ve shared the $625 million jackpot – and almost certain early retirement, but nobody’s complaining. Instead, each person will take home about $33,000, according to the New Hampshire State Lottery.
“We were one number away from not being here,” said sales manager Rob Walsh, “but we’re happy to have won what we did.”
At a press conference this week, none of the employees disclosed immediate plans for retiring from Jordan’s. Indeed, most showed up to work Thursday after claiming their prize a day earlier. That brought a sigh of relief from Jordan’s president, Eliot Tatelman, who made a playful phone call to lottery headquarters to congratulate the group.
“I’m excited personally,” he told them over the phone, “because based on what just happened, I know you don’t need a bonus or a raise this year.”
J-Team members were all smiles at Wednesday’s press conference, where they picked up their oversized check. “We each have our individual story of why it’s important to us, but there’s a couple in our group that — I’m not going to discuss the personal issues, but it’s really a meaningful impact for them. So it’s made it even happier all around,” Sandrea Lutkevich said. “It’s a big impact on us all.”
According to the state lottery, winners receive $1 million if they get the five white-ball numbers but not the final Powerball number. The odds of getting the five numbers are one in 11,688,054. The winning numbers for the J-Team were 24-25-52-60-66.
“We are all really excited to win this $1 million Powerball prize together,” said Julia Crema, a longtime Jordan’s employee and one of the members of the winning pool. “We have been playing Powerball together off and on for years and we always dreamed we’d land a big winner. Today is our lucky day!”