Boone Retailer Aims to Keep Up Winning Tradition With Customers
Co-owner says strong community presence is the key to lottery success.
Gas & Grocery is known among players as "the
place to go" to buy lottery tickets in Boone. The
store has paid $715,636 to winners in the last five
years. Co-owner Maribeth Waldman believes that the
store's strong community presence is the key to its
As the vendor for the Boone High School Booster
Club, L&M sells food at Boone sporting events so the
club can raise funds for activities in the community
school district. L&M also helps the local humane
society by donating used boxes.
"It's community people that support us. It's not
people driving by on the highway, it's local
people," Waldman explained.
And of course, the store sells Iowa Lottery products
to those locals, including lotto, scratch and
pull-tab tickets. She said it's important for the
Lottery and her store to work together to sustain
Waldman said her favorite part about selling lottery
tickets is the excitement that players have for the
games as well as the fun they have while playing.
She emphasized how important it is that the players
are informed on how to play.
"It's all about knowledge; if they are informed,
they are better players," Waldman said.
with keeping her customers informed, Waldman
said she teaches her employees to engage with
customers to build loyalty. She gives employees the
skill set to educate the customers, and she said
incenting them to ask for the lottery sale is
effective as well. The store prides itself on its
L&M employee Pam White said, "When there's good
winners, people get excited. So they're happy, so it
makes you happy!"
Waldman and her two partners purchased the
convenience store, located at 320 W. Mamie
Eisenhower Ave., on July 1, 2004. Since taking over
ownership, the group has remodeled the store,
doubling its size. The remodel also included
bringing the lottery ticket dispenser above the
counter to make it more visible, and the store
recently upgraded its Iowa Lottery display to hold
28 scratch games.
"We asked for the biggest lottery dispenser we could
get," Waldman said with a smile.
L&M is second in total lottery sales among retailers
in Boone, and is ranked 15th out of 663 stores in
its region of the state. Its owners are not
discouraged that theirs is a small store compared to
some of its competitors.
"Those large stores are great competitors. I would
rather compete with them than with some
independents. They understand business," Waldman
L&M employees also build great relationships with
their customers. Waldman recalled a favorite story
when one of her regular customers was in the
hospital. L&M employees sent the woman a get well
card with scratch tickets inside and she ended up
winning $5,000-enough to pay for her hospital bill.
This is one of many heart-warming customer stories
that L&M employees tell.
Another way that L&M likes to give back to its
customers is having an annual Customer Appreciation
Day. Some Iowa Lottery staff spent part of this day
at L&M in June, as employees grilled out and held a
lottery promotion. This tradition began on the
store's first anniversary and has been held every
year since. Waldman said her customers enjoy seeing
According to Waldman, L&M's motto is: "We want to be
a friend and partner to the community in any way we
can because without them, we don't have a business -
we just don't."
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