The Arkansas Lottery is generating jobs along with winnings

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The success of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery in recent weeks has forced some companies to add new jobs. The Kum & Go on Highway 141 in north Jonesboro is looking to hire two new employees to keep up with demand for lottery tickets. According to store manager Cindy Cole, the store averages $2-3,000/day in lottery sales.

"Business has just picked up so much and looking towards the Powerball starting October 31, and how much more increase we're going to get with that, we're actually going to be doubling our staff and we're currently holding interviews," said Cole.

Cole said Kum & Go determines how many employees are needed at any given time through a computerized system that tracks store sales. It's designed to maintain quality customer service, Cole said.

"Right now at our last printout, it's showing that we're close to doubling what I need in staff," said Cole.

Cole said her business isn't the only one to benefit from high demand for lottery tickets.

"Jobs for Interlock and Scientific Games, who are producing the tickets, so it's also helping the economy as well as scholarship funds," said Cole. "The first order we got was, I want to say, 20 books of tickets. The last order I got was 91 books of tickets."

Cole said she's worked at the Kum & Go on Highway 141 for nine years and she's seeing some people for the first time. She said some customers have purchased lottery tickets along with other items.

"It's great for business. It's great for business. It not only increases our customer counts, which allows us to hire more employees, it's also increasing what everybody else is buying. Even if they come in just to buy a lottery ticket, they smell the chicken or think, 'I'll get a drink or, gosh the gas price is great today, let me fill up,' so, you know, it's increased all our other sales also," said Cole.

Junior Foods at the intersection of Culberhouse and Nettleton has applied to sell lottery tickets. Jim Quinn, who owns the business, said the state has a backlog of applicants waiting to sell tickets. He said he expected to have his application approved later this month.

"I think overall it's a good thing. It's definitely a huge driver for the business. It's going to be good for our cash flow at the store level and I think it's going to possibly afford us the opportunity to hire some more associates," said Quinn.

Quinn said he's excited about the sale of lottery tickets, but he wants to alleviate possible problems with customer service.

"It's definitely increased traffic, but on the same side of the good traffic, if you don't end up taking care of that traffic, it can end up being a backlog for that customer that's trying to get in and get convenience. That's one thing we want to make sure we ensure is that our customers are still able to get in and get out fast," said Quinn.

Quinn told Region 8 News businesses receive five percent of lottery ticket sales. They also receive a percentage of winning tickets.

"It cuts into their deli sales. It's cut into some of their other sales because the whole idea is we're a convenience store. We're here for convenience. If you've got a bunch of people standing around at the counter, scratching off their tickets, talking to the associates, everybody gets so wrapped into the lottery, they forget the main reason we're here for," said Quinn.

"It can increase sales as much as 25-30 % just from lottery sales. A store like this one could expect to do anywhere from $2-3,000 a day in lottery sales," said Quinn. "We're excited. If we work it the right way and we train our people right and we don't let the lottery get in the way of our everyday customer that's coming in here for a quick in and out, I think it will be a success for us."

"It's really increased our business. You know, we don't make a lot on the lottery tickets. We rank very little money on the tickets themselves, but it's brought in customers that I've never seen before and I've been here almost nine years," said Cole.

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