It pays to shop local.
Just ask Stephenville resident Luis Pena who was the lucky winner of the $10,000 Shop Local drawing Monday night at City Park.
Pena’s ticket was the first one drawn and came from Bruner Motors.
The E-T spoke with Pena Tuesday about his big win and learned that it almost didn’t happen.
“I wasn’t even planning on going, honestly, because I was tired from work,” he said. “Then a friend called at the last minute and I decided to go.”
After parking at City Park, Pena began making his way to Birdsong Amphitheater where the drawing was held. He was carrying a folder with his tickets inside.
“My tickets started falling out of my folder. I picked some up, but some blew away,” Pena said. “The only ticket that didn’t fall out was the one that won.”
Pena, 26, moved to Stephenville from California seven years ago.
“I came to visit my uncle who lives here and I liked it so I stayed,” he said.
He worked for Schreiber Foods for six years, and last year bought into a local landscaping business - Solis Lawn & Landscaping - he now runs with a friend.
“I always wanted to do something on my own,” Pena said. “Working for Schreiber got me on my feet. They are a good company.”
Pena said he had to do a triple take when the number on his winning ticket was read Monday.
“I wasn’t sure I was reading it right,” he said. “I was following along as they were calling the numbers…I couldn’t believe it.”
Pena said he will use the money to have an extra merry Christmas and enjoy a little fun when he heads to Las Vegas for a family reunion on Wednesday.
Boots Elliott, general manager and co-owner of KSTV, which sponsors the campaign, says it’s positive for everyone involved.
“This campaign encourages residents to spend their dollars locally and keep leakage from going to the Metroplex during the holiday season,” Elliott said. “It’s really important to us to support local businesses and keep them strong.”
As a local business owner himself, Pena shares that sentiment.
“I plan to continue shopping locally and supporting local businesses,” Pena said.