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After 118 years, everyone knows everyone at Worsham’s. After Powerball, they all have one question: Who won?
When it’s a good year for Worsham’s General Store, it seems, it’s a good year for Shackle Island.
The small, 118-year-old convenience store in Sumner County became the site of a new achievement when Tennessee lottery officials confirmed a $198 million winning Powerball ticket was sold there Saturday night.
They’ve seen floods, they’ve seen fire and stood strong through it all.
“We’ve all had to work for everything we have,” owner Bobby Worsham said. “We have fun with it, though.”
Worsham’s Market owner Bobby Worsham receives a check from the Tennessee Lottery on Monday. (Photo: Submitted)
For more than a century, the Worsham family has owned and operated a local landmark near 2030 New Hope Road.
Rebecca Hargrove, Lottery president and CEO, presented Worsham’s Market owner Bobby Worsham with a $50,000 selling bonus Monday.
As of Monday evening, the winner had not yet come forward.
The win marks the seventh time someone in Tennessee purchased a ticket with all six matching numbers, according to the Tennessee Lottery. Powerball is played across multiple states.
There have been 76 Powerball winners in Tennessee of $1 million or more, and seven of those have been jackpot winners.
Lottery officials advise the ticket-holder to sign the back of the ticket, keep it in a secure location, consult with a financial adviser and call the lottery headquarters in Nashville before coming to claim the prize.
The winner has 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim the prize.
The exterior of Worsham’s Market in Hendersonville Monday, July 15, 2019. The store sold a winning Powerball ticket that was worth $198 million. (Photo: Mariah Timms)
Worsham’s also awarded
As the store that sold the ticket, the Worsham’s received its own prize: $50,000 presented Monday afternoon by the Tennessee Lottery.
Current owner Bobby Worsham is the third generation, and third Robert, of family owners of what now runs as a gas station and convenience store a few miles back from the interstate.
“We’re in the middle of everything here,” Taylor Carter, 21, Worsham’s granddaughter said. “We hear about football games, about funeral services. If there’s a wreck, people will call up Worsham’s. ‘They’ll know what happens,’ they’ll say.”
Carter has worked in the store since she was a young teenager, as most of her family members have before her. The family still lives across the street from the store.
The original structure was built in the late 1880s by the owner of a local mill owner as a commissary for the millworkers. Worsham’s grandfather took over the store and it opened under the name R.L. Worsham’s General Store in 1901.
That Robert L. Worsham’s father was also a Robert who owned a general store in town, Bobby Worsham said, making the chain of community resources four generations long.
Taylor Carter, 21, holds the $50,000 check awarded to her grandfather’s store, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Hendersonville, Tenn. Worsham’s Market received the bonus for selling a $198 million winning Powerball ticket. (Photo: Mariah Timms)
A sign hanging behind the deli counter in the current building was original to the 20th century version of the store. Rescued by firefighters from the burning wall of the old store when it was destroyed in a 2008 fire, the sign was lovingly retouched by Carter and her aunt.
“My grandfather, he lit up when he found out about the lottery,” Carter said. “He’s tickled to death. Something that good happening for him … he’s a good man, and he goes through so much. He deserved it.”
Worsham’s sees hundreds of visitors a day, Carter said, many of whom drive in from Nashville or Goodlettsville for lunch — they’re known for their chicken.
Most of the visitors, though, are regulars. Together, they make up the backbone of the community centered around this small family store.
“I hope it is a regular who won. That would be really cool,” she said. “Anybody who plays deserves to win, that’s how it works, but I’d like to know them, know what they’re going to do with it.”
Family history in Shackle Island
Worsham’s has always been a staple in small, unincorporated Shackle Island in Sumner County. Most of the people who walk through the door have a word with the staff about their families or the local high school’s football team, even in early July.
Bobby Worsham helped build the bleachers at the Beech High School football stadium, home of the Buccaneers. Earlier this year, the school recognized him with a Hall of Fame spot for his contributions to the school.
Worsham’s Market owner Bobby Worsham received a $50,000 check after his store sold the winning Powerball ticket. (Photo: Mariah Timms)
“You know, we do more than 100 biscuits a day when school is in session, kids coming through. This is really a community center. A place where you can get together and find out what’s going on. The fire chief comes in every morning, we hear who had a fire, who had a wreck, everything,” Worsham said.
As to precisely why Worsham’s has had the staying power of more than a century, Bobby said it was simple.
“It’s about being so friendly and good to people,” he explained. “My motto is up on the wall. Here, we’re people who know you, people who care.”
Center of the community
Some visitors, like Cecil Ralph, 77, and Paul Brinkley, 58, come to the store almost every day, sometimes more than once.
Ralph said he sometimes eats breakfast, lunch and dinner at Worsham’s.
“The history they have here, it’s important,” he said.
He was 10 years old when a 1952 flood picked up the then-Worsham’s General Store structure and turned it around on the property. According to family lore, only a well-secured drain pipe kept the structure from sliding into the creek that day.
“After that, dad just raised the store back up. He had a door and a sign and he made do,” Worsham said. “That’s what I’ve tried to do myself.”
Brinkley, too, is a friend of the family as well as a customer. He helped build the current store after the 2008 fire. The store reopened in a year later in its current form.
“Everybody knows everybody here,” he said.
When he was a kid, in the late 1960s, Brinkley’s grandfather used to bring him to the store, where he would sit on a shelf and eat Moon Pies and drink RC Cola.
“He’d go stand by the potbellied stove with all the farmers. They’d stand around and swap lies,” he said, chuckling. “Now that’s what I do.”
Taylor Carter, 21, works the cash register at Worsham’s Market in Hendersonville on Monday, July 15, 2019. (Photo: Mariah Timms)
Everyone wants to find the winner
Carter said all of the phones had been “blowing up” all day, as friends and customers saw the owners on television news or heard through the local grapevine about the winning ticket.
People stopped by throughout the day Monday to take photos with the “winning ticket sold here” sign or joke they were the ones who won.
Worsham, too, said he hoped the winner was a local.
“We all live like a family out here. More people here feel community, they want it. Even the people who move out here want to get into that community, they miss that in a lot of places,” he said. “They want you to know them.”A $198 million lottery ticket was sold at Worsham's Market in Hendersonville, leaving customers at the long-standing store with one question: Who won? ]]>