In this episode of "Lottery Changed My Life," Florida Lottery winner Jason Fry talks about how he's spending his $14 million fortune.
A few years back, Jason Fry wasn't living the American Dream.
The nearly 6-foot, 6-inch burly man was diligently slaving each day using the standard formula for success, but despite his hard work and persistence he remained on the brink of bankruptcy.
That is until a co-worker's 18th birthday three days before Christmas. This lucky day in 2007 brought him a share of a $47 million Florida Lottery win, and he was set for life.
Jason Fry acquired a Golf World 2 Driving Range in Fort Myers with some of his lottery winnings. Photo: Business Observer
He bought a new Cadillac Escalade and a few weeks later ferried his buddies in a limousine bus to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, where he had purchased a section of tickets on the 50-yard line to watch the University of Florida play the University of Michigan in football.
Driven by his love of golf, Fry also acquired a Golf World 2 driving range in Fort Myers and has plans to develop another one.
He acquired the golf driving range with a business partner on Daniels Parkway in Fort Myers for $50,000, leasing the property in April 2010.
The range now generates $300,000 in annual revenues.
"The range has been great for me," Fry says. "It was a $50,000 golf membership."
The Daniels driving range has been so successful that Fry acquired 30 acres on Alico Road near Interstate 75 where he plans to build another driving range as part of a fun park that will include batting cages and bumper boats.
One day, Fry says he’d like to run for political office as an independent candidate.
But Fry, 39, quickly tired of the easy life. He laughs that he couldn’t persuade any of his working friends to hang out at the beach on Mondays.
So in 2009 he acquired a BatteriesPlus store in Fort Myers, and the franchise rights to three more.
The 14-year-old Batteries Plus - after only two and half years in Fry's possession - is now the chain's No. 1 store in the nation. Photo: Naples News
"I think the battery thing is good, it's blowing up so big. I mean everything is batteries, and the franchise itself is blowing up, people are wanting to get into it," Fry said.
Fry and several investors acquired the franchise rights to three more BatteriesPlus stores for another $1 million, which have since opened in shopping centers in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral and Naples.
He expects each of the three newer stores to exceed $1 million in annual sales.
"When you look at their numbers, it’s a no brainer," says Fry, who plans to share profits with investors by way of a dividend.
"I got people phoning me all day, they see it's an A+ franchise, they see the numbers, they see how great of a business it is, people just call me and want to know more about it."
Fry says he can't stay still and is always looking for the next opportunity. “I’m over ambitious,” he smiles.
Tips from the Winner:
Jason Fry won the Florida Lottery in 2007 and invested the money into successful businesses. Here are some lessons he learned along the way:
- Thoroughly research a business before you jump in. Fry always wanted to own a bar, but he says his research shows it’s a risky business. Instead, he says he built a “man cave” at home that satisfies that urge. “You’ve got to think: Is this going to survive?” he says.
- Stay flexible. You have to adjust your business to what customers want.
- Listen to people. Consider how other entrepreneurs have fared in your industry.
- Be careful with friends, especially when it comes to lending them money.
- Invest conservatively, and don’t be greedy. Success won’t come overnight but in small steps.
- Family is important. Fry makes time for his children, even when he’s most busy.
READ MORE: Business Observer