Donaldsonville resident, store hit big

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR
Bellina’s Grocery store has been on the corner of St. Patrick Street since 1944.

Since 1944, Bellina’s Grocery has sat on the corner of St. Patrick Street. And when, Michel Bellina was handed the keys of ownership to the store from his father he thought he was in over his head. What one would think would be an exciting opportunity wasn’t, but when Byron Davis claimed his $1 million prize from the Jan. 19 Powerball drawing, Bellina was excited as if he had one the prize himself.

“That was pretty exciting knowing that it was somebody from this area,” Bellina said who has seen a couple lottery winners purchase from his store, but none as big as this.

Davis, a 50-year-old Donaldsonville native, bought a Quick Pick ticket that matched all five whiteball numbers but missed the red Powerball number. Davis received $700,000 after federal and state taxes were withheld.

With Davis receiving the big money, Bellina gets one percent of the earnings, $10 thousand. For Bellina, that will go a long way as he is already getting his refrigeration unit worked on in the store. Bellina also owns the Laundromat on the corner across the street from the grocery store and is getting repairs done there too. He said he has already been credited his one percent of earnings.

“Between those two jobs that’s going to cost me 10 grand,” Bellina said. “I’ll get to enjoy it for a little while, that’s money that I don’t have to spend.”

Bellina said the store has people who had five out of six win about $2,000 on the lottery, which is the Louisiana Lottery.He’s also had a $10 thousand winner, which is four out of six with the Powerball.

“But that was the big that really put us on the map.” Bellina said referring to Davis’ winnings.

After the announcement came on the news everybody knew it was a person from Donaldsonville but no one knew which store the ticket came from.

When Bellina found out it was Davis who had won, he got a feeling it could have come from his store because Davis shops regularly there.

Bellina said one of his employees said she remembers Davis came in sometime earlier that week and he bought one Powerball and three lottos.

“If that was the time he did it, that’s it because he’s a regular,” Bellina said.

Bellina said he is glad Davis won and he wants to congratulate him and thank him.

“But I’m sure he’s thankful too,” Bellina said and chuckled.

Now Bellina and the store are the talk of town. He said since then he is often stopped and asked, “Was that you? Was that your store?”

“Everybody is just excited about the idea, they glad too knowing that somebody in this town hit for a million dollars,” Bellina said. “They know it’s possible, so maybe we might start getting people to come in more.”

Bellina also said it could have another effect too. He said people may not come because of the saying, “lightning is not going to strike twice in the same place.”

If lightning does, the store on the corner of St. Patrick Street will be the one to know.

Bellina added, “If you don’t play at all, you can’t win.”