The actual value is $399.4 million, with a direct cash option of $233 million. It's the largest Powerball winning ticket sold in South Carolina. In May, a Florida widow won the biggest Powerball jackpot in history — a $590 million pot.
Store manager Keith Wedmore said he'd encouraged some people to buy a ticket Wednesday afternoon and that he hoped the winner was one of those he'd talked into spending their money.
"It was steady all day long," Wedmore said. "We are a busy store."
He noted that many visitors come from out of state, since I-20 runs from central South Carolina all the way to Texas. "We draw all sorts of traffic off the interstate," he said. Bethea said that if the winner lives elsewhere, he or she will have to return to South Carolina to show officials the ticket.
Customer Donna Taylor of Columbia, 42, said she purchased Powerball tickets, but it wasn't her lucky day.
"I didn't win. I'm frustrated," said Taylor, who runs a cleaning service. "I think I'm going to go right in there and buy another ticket today."
Leo Hinnant, 48, of Columbia, leaned on his pickup and laughed at all the fuss as he filled his tank.
"It's high time it's come close to home, but I want to see who the winner is," he said.
Susanne M. Schafer can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/susannemarieap .