Twenty Costco workers marched into the parking lot of the massive discount store on Thursday to celebrate as millionaires -- weeks after they won the Powerball jackpot worth over $200 million.
"It's like they say -- 'it takes a dollar and a dream,'" said lottery winner Kim Karkota, of Mastic, N.Y.
The Costco 20 came together at their Melville store this spring to begin buying lottery tickets. Each chipped in $5 a week. It took about a month before the group hit pay dirt with the June 1 Powerball drawing.
The winning numbers were 8, 18, 38, 46, 56 with a Powerball number of 31.
"When they called and said we won Powerball, I said 'What's that?'" said Cindy Magnes of Wantagh. Now, she knows.
Anthony Manzolillo, 73, a member services employee, organized the group effort and bought the winning ticket from a stationery store in Lindenhurst. Manzolillo almost didn't buy that ticket. After stopping at the store, he realized he had left the Costco money behind and then rushed home to get it.
"God made me feel lucky," Manzolillo said. "He watched over me."
The workers range in age from 24 to 73. Their jobs include meat cutter, payroll clerk, pharmacist, photo department clerk and supervisor.
"A lot of them needed the money," said Costco general manager Bart Bartoldus. "They're living paycheck to paycheck."
No more. The workers will walk away with about $3.5 million each, after opting for a lump sum payment of $106 million before taxes.
"This is for my pops. He brought us luck," said Geraldine Smyth of Farmingdale, a winner who lost her dad about a year ago.
So far, none of the "Costco 20" has quit. One has told management he plans to retire at some point this year.
As far as spending the money, descriptions range from "getting out of my parents' house" to a trip to Vegas and a family reunion.
"It's my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and last year, we couldn't afford anything," said Cindy Magnes.
"Now we can," she added.