Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 4, 2016, 4:15 am
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Lottery winner buys Fort Myers business

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Lottery winner buys Fort Myers business

Joining the ranks of the idle rich is often step No. 1 for the lucky few who win the lottery.

But Jason Fry, 35, has chosen a different path after splitting a roughly $47 million Florida Lottery jackpot in December 2007 with a Bonita Springs man.

First, he spent several months traveling and relaxing after leaving his bartending job. Then he had a plan: rejoin the workforce by becoming a business owner.

That decision became reality last week when he finalized the purchase of the Batteries Plus store on Cleveland Avenue, near Page Field.

Choosing the easy life was never a consideration for Fry, who tended bar for seven years at the Stonewood Tavern and Grill in south Fort Myers until hitting the jackpot.

"First of all, I'm really not that type of person," the south Fort Myers resident said about a life of leisure. "I need to be active. I'm just not the type of person to lay around. I know that doing something like that, I'd go crazy."

Fry left his job the day after the win and then took a one-time, lump-sum payment of about $13.6 million. He played golf and spent time with his parents in Indiana while he considered his options.

The 6-foot-5-inch, 270-pounder played football at Cypress Lake High School. Today, Fry enjoys watching college football, especially the Florida Gators. But he's no couch potato.

It was an old college buddy from Orlando who led him to Batteries Plus, a national chain that sells and manufactures batteries and related products.

"After I won the lottery, he told me about it so I went up and visited the store and that's how it started," he said.

Fry bought the 14-year-old business and its building for about $1 million from Kim Stowers of Cape Coral. He said the business appealed to him because batteries are used in a host of products and there is expansion potential in Lee County.

His plans include opening a Cape Coral store around Christmas and eventually adding locations in Lehigh Acres and perhaps Bonita Springs. He's also working to expand the business' commercial side.

The store also enables him to provide employment and boost the economy in the community he's called home since 1988, when his family moved from the Chicago area.

"I want people to know that I didn't run to the south of France," he said. "I put my money back into our economy. Maybe it's not a huge amount of money, but every little bit helps. It's sad to drive up and down (U.S.) 41 and see all the closed businesses."

Fry's community spirit and his return to the work world are no surprise to Jason Hughes of Sarasota, who's known him since 1992, when they were roommates at the University of Florida.

"It's just a great story," he said. "I think a lot of people would rest on their laurels after winning the lottery. But Jason's a very motivated person and I foresee him being very successful in business."

Hughes, a certified financial planner with Morgan Stanley's Sarasota office, helped Fry set up investment accounts for the lottery proceeds, as well as trusts for his children.

Learning of Fry's luck warmed Hughes' heart.

"My initial reaction was wow, the lottery is real, because until you know somebody who's won it, it seems surreal. I'd say he's been very generous to his friends, but at the same time, not irresponsible. He's also been very generous with his family. So, I'd say he's very giving."

News-Press

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

9 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by justxploring.
Page 1 of 1
charmed7's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg
MICHIGAN
United States
Member #65282
September 22, 2008
1992 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 13, 2009, 2:10 pm - IP Logged

The guy sound like he has his head on right.  The battery business should

be successful. Thats something we all need with TV's remote controls....

toys...and the list goes on. It would nice if he could get a contract for

the batteries they plan on putting into the cars.

    GamerMom's avatar - tails

    United States
    Member #60535
    April 21, 2008
    460 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: March 13, 2009, 2:12 pm - IP Logged

    that is one big dude...

      fwlawrence's avatar - Yavill
      Austin
      United States
      Member #9378
      December 6, 2004
      210 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 13, 2009, 2:37 pm - IP Logged

      I hope he gets a charge out of his new venture.

        ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
        Idaho
        United States
        Member #56506
        November 21, 2007
        6537 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 13, 2009, 2:44 pm - IP Logged

        Good luck to him! He sounds like he has a good plan going.

        "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

          Avatar
          Los Angeles CA
          United States
          Member #55727
          October 16, 2007
          195 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: March 13, 2009, 5:23 pm - IP Logged

          I hope he gets a charge out of his new venture.

          Thanks, I needed that!Thumbs Up

          EXMECHANIC

          "My dollar buys hope, what does yours do?" 

            time*treat's avatar - radar

            United States
            Member #13130
            March 30, 2005
            2171 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: March 13, 2009, 5:53 pm - IP Logged

            Congrats to the lucky seller of the business. Wink

            In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
            Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

              Tenaj's avatar - michellea
              Charlotte NC
              United States
              Member #17406
              June 18, 2005
              4053 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: March 13, 2009, 6:18 pm - IP Logged

              I hope he gets a charge out of his new venture.

              LOL!

              takeemtothebank

                Halle99's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
                United States
                United States
                Member #68252
                December 16, 2008
                168 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 14, 2009, 7:08 pm - IP Logged

                I wish him all the best.US Flag

                "Wait eagerly for the Lord, and keep to the way; God wil raise you to possess the land; you will gloat when the wicked are cut off".

                                                                                              Psalms 37:34

                  justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                  Wandering Aimlessly
                  United States
                  Member #25360
                  November 5, 2005
                  4461 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 15, 2009, 7:53 pm - IP Logged

                  Well, maybe things will start to improve around here, but many businesses are shutting their doors in the areas mentioned in the article.  So I wish him a lot of luck & success.  It's great to hear about someone investing the money he won back into the community.  He certainly won't have any trouble finding people to fill job openings! Why anyone would want to open up a store in Lehigh is beyond me, but what do I know?

                  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/08/us/08lehigh.html