NC man can reopen business shuttered by COVID-19 thanks to $1.2 million lottery prize

Winnings give business owner much-needed relief after pandemic causes financial struggles

By Kate Northrop

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Many business owners and entrepreneurs saw their businesses and livelihoods shuttered after the coronavirus shutdown. But one North Carolina resident now has a chance to re-open his hair salon after winning a $1.2 million lottery prize.

Jeffrey Yi, of Fayetteville, was fortunate enough to win the Sept. 24 Cash 5 jackpot worth $1,247,944 that would help him reopen his hair salon six months after COVID-19 forced it to close.

“My business was shut down because of coronavirus, and I lost a lot of money,” Yi told the N.C. Lottery. “I couldn’t pay the rent or the employees. This is a chance to reopen again. I’m so happy.”

Business owners like Yi struggled to find options and opportunities that would keep them afloat while the shutdown worked to curb the spread of the virus by shuttering businesses deemed non-essential. Yi said he was encouraged by a friend to try his luck playing the lottery, so he gave it a shot.

“My friend said that Cash 5 prize is very high right now, so you gotta buy some tickets,” Yi recalled being told. “So I bought them.”

Yi stopped by the Speedway gas station on Yadkin Road in Fayetteville to purchase his lucky Cash 5 ticket that would make him a jackpot winner. Using his own numbers, he beat the odds of 1 in 962,598 to match all five numbers in the drawing.

“I was surprised. So happy,” he said.

He visited Lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Friday, Sept. 25 to claim his prize. His total winnings amounted to $882,923 after federal and state taxes.

The next Cash 5 drawing will take place tonight, Oct. 4 at 11:22 pm for an estimated jackpot worth $791,000. Drawings occur at the same time every night and can be viewed live on local television stations and the winning numbers are published soon after on Lottery Post’s North Carolina Lottery Results page. Tickets cost $1 each.

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