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Lotto fever infects Costa Mesa's 'Lucky Retailer'

Customers line up for Mega Millions tickets at Baycrest Liquor, whose owner estimates more than $50,000 in ticket sales alone Friday.

March 30, 2012|By Lauren Williams
  • Baycrest Liquor owners Sylvia Bice, bottom left, and her son, Bryan Nye, second from left, sell Mega Millions tickets Friday. The 17th Street store in Costa Mesa has been deemed a "Lucky Retailer" by California Lottery officials. Nye estimated that the store will sell $50,000 to $60,000 in tickets on Friday alone.
Baycrest Liquor owners Sylvia Bice, bottom left, and… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Baycrest Liquor in Costa Mesa was a hive of activity Friday as the Mega Millions lottery jackpot climbed to a record-high $640 million.

Baycrest is one Orange County's eight "Lucky Retailers," as determined by the California Lottery.

Which explains why just after noon, about 30 customers were waiting in a line that wrapped past the store's isles and out its double doors, all for a chance to snag some potentially winning numbers.

Bryan Nye has owned the store on 17th Street with his mother, Sylvia Bice, for the past 14 years. He estimated their shop would sell $50,000 to $60,000 in tickets on Friday alone.

Although he's not sure why the store has produced such luck in the past, Nye had one guess.

"Our good vibe," he explained, adding that Baycrest's previous good fortune was part of the reason he and his mom were interested in buying the business.

Nye was born and raised in the area. He knows all of his regulars.

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"It's like Mayberry-town syndrome," he said.

Baycrest stands to win $1 million — the cap for lottery ticket retailers — if the winning ticket was bought from his store.

"I'd be ecstatic if anybody won from our store," Nye said. "Our customers are just awesome."

One customer was in line on behalf of her sister, who insisted she drive to Baycrest from her home near Knott's Berry Farm. She left her sister landmarks to find the store.

The first thing Jacque Stone did was go to her old job in Irvine, as her older sister instructed, then weave her way to Baycrest using a series of points her sister left her.

"She's buying dinner and drinks," Stone said.

For her sister, Stone bought $40 worth of quick picks and $5 for herself, although she normally never plays.

Suzanne Henry, who lives in Newport Beach, said she is a 20-year regular at Baycrest because its location has her lucky number in its address, 333 E. 17th St.

Donna McKennon of Newport Beach said she doesn't buy a ticket often, but when she does, she swings by Baycrest. Her fantasy if she wins?

"So many things! I don't even know where to start."

lauren.williams@latimes.com

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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