- Associated Press - Saturday, March 8, 2014

BONDURANT, Iowa (AP) - A central Iowa town is about to get a long-awaited grocery store, thanks to a couple of lottery winners who put some of their jackpot winnings toward the effort.

The 4,000 residents of Bondurant, about 14 miles northeast of Des Moines, currently must drive out of town for groceries or make do with the slim selection available at convenience stores in town. That changes at the end of March, when they will be able to shop or eat in the Brick Street Market and Cafe, Des Moines television station KCCI reported (https://bit.ly/1inPbnt).

On Friday, workers were busy stocking the shelves of the $4.5 million store.

The store is the work of locals Mary and Brian Lohse, who won a $202 million Powerball Lottery jackpot in 2012.

The couple say opening the full-service grocery with a deli, bakery, restaurant, meat counter with butcher and a selection of Iowa wines has been a dream of theirs.

Mary Lohse said she’s happy to spend part of her lottery winnings on a business that benefits the town.

“I didn’t do anything to earn it,” she said of winning the jackpot. “I just bought a ticket … so in my mind, it’s not my money. It’s shared with everyone. Everyone can benefit.”

One of the employees is Mary Lohse’s niece, Jessica Mernka, who moved to Bondurant with her family to be the assistant manager at the restaurant, the Butler Cafe.

Mernka said the store has led to her family all living together in the same place, “just like we always wanted.”

Josh Klapp is leaving his grocery job in Ankeny - and his hour roundtrip commute - to work in his hometown.

“Now it takes me three minutes to get to work,” he said.


Information from: KCCI-TV, https://www.kcci.com

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