Stuttgart's G&B Liquor Store Is No. 1 in Lottery Sales

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Sep. 9, 2013 12:00 am  

(This article contains a correction. See end for details.)

G&B Liquor Store in Stuttgart maintained its unlikely crown as the top-selling lottery ticket retailer in the state during the fiscal year that ended June 30, Arkansas Scholarship Lottery data shows.

The tiny store doesn’t sell gasoline or much of anything besides package alcohol, yet it sold very nearly $2 million worth of lottery tickets last year — a figure that is considerably higher than the revenue from liquor sales.

Becoming a lottery retailer, as he did when the lottery launched four years ago this month, “definitely doubled my business,” said owner Paul Le, a Vietnamese immigrant who settled in Stuttgart in 1978 and has owned the liquor store for almost 11 years.

Lottery sales, Le said, brought in new customers — and not just for lottery tickets.

“A lot of people never did come in here before we had the lottery, and then when they come in they see the prices on the liquor and say, ‘Hey, you have a good price,’” Le said.

Selling that volume of lottery tickets generated commissions above $100,000 a year for G&B, which Le owns with his wife, Lien Le.

(Get the list: Click here to see the top lottery retailers.)

Retailers earn a commission of 5 percent on all sales and then a 1 percent commission for cashing winning tickets worth $500 or less. (Larger prizes must be claimed at one of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery’s prize claim centers.)

Cashing those winning tickets is also fun for Le, who deserves an honorary Ph.D. in consumer psychology.

“When people hit $200 or $500, they are so happy — and you can tell that they [then] buy a lot more than they win,” he said.

As has been widely reported, lottery ticket sales slumped in fiscal 2013, down about 7 percent to $440 million statewide. And while Le’s lottery sales were a bit better in the most recent fiscal year ($1.99 million vs. $1.84 million in fiscal 2012), neither year matched the high-water mark of $2.15 million his store set in fiscal 2011, the first full year of the lottery.



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