Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Lottery machine spits out $5 million scratch off winner 

Raphael Lopez with the machine that produced a winning scratch off in September. 

The colorful blue behemoth sitting at the entryway to Valley Brook Market on Main Street spit out a ticket worth $5 million in September. The lucky winner spent $20 for his scratch off but waited until November 20th to notify lottery officials in Fishkill to claim the prize. 

“He didn’t want a lot of publicity, and preferred to not have his name made known publicly,” said Raphael Lopez, a co-owner of the busy deli between Bank and James Streets. 

As soon as lottery officials knew there was a winning ticket sold from the machine, they had Lopez take out all the other scratch offs in that category from the machine because there was more than one $5 million scratch off. 

Lopez and his partner Leonel M. Fernades have seen an uptick in business since word spread about the Peekskill resident who was a regular in the store getting a winning ticket.  “People come in and say ‘sell me a winning ticket’,” laughed Lopez. 


Lopez moves between the hot food counter fulfilling orders and the front register selling lottery tickets. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

The news that Valley Brook was the location of a winning $5 million ticket was the perfect anniversary gift for Lopez and Fernades who celebrated their third year of ownership of the busy deli. Lopez and Fernades both worked at Valley Brook as short order cooks for some 25 years. Lopez took five years off to drive for Rio Taxi and was approached by his former boss who was interested in retiring. The former owner said he’d like to give Lopez a chance to own the business if he was interested.  Lopez jumped at the chance and formed a partnership with Fernades who worked alongside him as a short order cook in the 1990’s. 

Valley Brook has been a fixture on Main Street since the 1970’s. It was a fresh food market before it became mostly a deli.  (Photo by Jeff Merchan)

Valley Brook is located across the street from a busy bus stop and is frequented by bus drivers and landscaping crews for morning coffee and hot food. There are also the regulars who stop by to purchase lottery tickets.

Fernades and Lopez added the name Friend’s to the Valley-Brook Market moniker when they became owners of the business, While the $5 million jackpot was likely life-changing for the winner, for Valley Brook’s co-owners there’s no such luck. According to the NY Lottery website, the state pays a $10,000 commission to a business that sells a winning Mega Millions or Powerball ticket – but for scratch-off winners, the retailer gets a small percentage of the cost of the ticket and a great story to tell customers.


About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante