Small Town Retailer Lets Players Aim for Big Bucks

The Mississippi Lottery terminal touts Cash 4 on the first day of sales, but there’s not a soft drink in site. The lottery’s “Play Here” sign hangs in the window, between posts for ice chests and chain saws. The draw-games schedule is taped below the register, just 30 feet from the plastic worms and fishing lures.

This is not a stereotypical lottery retailer. It’s Thurmond’s True Value on the west side of the town square in Lexington, and being atypical works just fine.
Think of it as a different kind of convenience store.

As soon as the lottery came up, we got our application in as soon
as we could
,” said Michael Lawshae, who bought Thurmond’s True Value in 2016 from the second-generation owner. 

Other than the lottery terminal and signage, the store is exactly what Norman Rockwell would depict as the All-American small town hardware store. It’s the quintessential collection of appliances and mowers, paints and power tools, electrical supplies and pocketknives, PVC fittings and plumbing parts. Unlike its big-box “home improvement” brethren, Thurmond’s True Value includes an easy-going atmosphere, bringing the idea “full service” to a new level.

“A lot of people like to come in; it’s laid back,” Lawshae said. “Some people will come in scratch tickets for 30 minutes or more, sit around and talk. It’s entertaining for us, too.”

Scratch-off tickets are the main draw, but when the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots start climbing, customers like playing for the big bucks.

It seems like a lot of his customers aim for the big bucks.

With a new lighted jackpot sign in the window helps tout the lottery products inside, but this time of year, hunting supplies may drive sales as much as any display.

“A lot of times, the deer hunters come in for one thing or another, and they wind up buying lottery tickets, too,” Lawshae said. “I guess it gives them something
to do.”