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    Dunedin store sells winner

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published March 20, 2002

    DUNEDIN -- It's not unusual to hear employees at the Dodge's Store in Dunedin brag about plump pieces of fried chicken they dish out in their signature bright yellow boxes.

    Now they have something else to brag about.

    On Monday, one of two winning Fantasy 5 lottery tickets was sold from the gas station at 466 Patricia Ave.

    Though Florida Lottery officials had not notified Dodge's about the winning ticket, employees there said they were surprised and excited to learn that someone bought a winning ticket from the store.

    "Instead of it going to someone down in Miami or Tampa, someone in Dunedin finally won," manager Bob DiPersio said. Lottery officials say the ticket sold from Dodge's Store was purchased by John W. Lewis of East Lake. Contacted at his home Tuesday evening, Lewis, 53, declined to comment.

    Lewis matched all five numbers in the Fantasy 5 drawing. Because there were two winners, Lewis will share the $222,149 top prize. His share will be $111,074.

    Bradenton resident Frank Montgomery bought the other winning ticket in his hometown.

    Dodge's Store, meanwhile, later buzzed with employees and customers Tuesday who talked about the win and fantasized about what they would do if they had won.

    "I wish it was me," said Donald Booth of Dunedin. "To be quite honest, I'd pay off my school loans, my truck and buy a house."

    DiPersio, who said he wasn't sure how the win would affect business at the store, offered this advice to the winners:

    "Invest, invest, invest and don't blow it all," he said. "It's probably not enough to retire on but it's a pretty good chunk of change."

    -- Staff writer Robert Farley and news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

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