Cornelius Business: Merchants Statewide Losing Gamble For Business With Carolina Education Lottery

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CORNELIUS, N.C. — At Impact Plus Uniforms in Cornelius, key chains, shirts, and golf balls are just a few of the things that can be personalized for a price. When the North Carolina Education Lottery came calling for a “scratcher” key chain to give away to retailers, Impact Plus submitted a bid.

The small business was the lowest bidder in North Carolina. But because the bid submitted by a company in New York was nearly $20 thousand cheaper, Impact Plus lost out. The latest in a string of gambles that you could say haven’t paid off. “Your odds are sometimes in favor of winning, and sometimes they’re not. We have not been on the winning side yet,” said Matt Rowell of Impact Plus Uniforms.

The lottery says it looks to companies statewide first for the best price. If they can’t come up with the best price, they give them a second chance to come within five percent of the lowest out-of-state bidder mandated by an executive order. But Impact Plus says that isn’t enough. So they took their fight to Facebook, posting a statement online. “We want people to know that there is money that is going across state lines that is essentially designed for North Carolinians,” said Rowell.

Eight years ago, the North Carolina Lottery was formed. Net proceeds go to education in the state.
Impact Plus is hoping it will soon work harder to support state businesses as well. “Maybe our luck is going to come to us,” Rowell said.

WCCB is trying to figure out how often out of state bidders are selected. A public records request could take at least a week.