Stop at grocery store for cigar leads to $1 million Powerball win for North Carolina man

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, August 3, 2022

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The North Carolina Education Lottery has reported a million-dollar Powerball win by a Mecklenburg County man.

John Gerenza, of Charlotte, wanted a cigar, so he stopped at a grocery store and decided to play Powerball, too. He walked out with a ticket that would win him $1 million.

Gerenza’s $2 Quick Pick ticket, purchased at the Harris Teeter on South Tryon Street in Charlotte, matched numbers on five white balls in the July 16 drawing to win $1 million. He claimed his prize July 21 at lottery headquarters and, after required federal and state tax withholdings, took home $710,101.

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“Obviously I was ecstatic,” said Gerenza, 62. “We still don’t believe it actually.”

He said he would like to use some of his winnings to take a family vacation to the beach.

For details on how money raised by the lottery made an impact in 2021, visit and click on the “Impact” section.