Reaping man: Lottery saves Outback Lodge

Terry Martin was on the verge of losing the Outback Lodge, when Lady Luck– or something– stepped in.

Preston Avenue nightclub owner Terry Martin figures he was about a week from losing everything he'd worked for. The phone had been cut off. He couldn't pay to renew his liquor license, and the $15,000 he'd recently spent renovating the Outback Lodge appeared wasted, as he was drowning in debt. That is, until fate intervened. He won the lottery–- $100,000 worth.

The timing of his August 13 win and the $71,000 after-taxes giant check couldn't have been better for Martin.

"I was the brokest I've ever been," says Martin, who was also reeling from bad publicity and a whole lot of police attention stemming from a November shooting in his parking lot after a hip-hop event at his new downstairs dance hall, Club OBL.

But the threat hanging over his head was the imminent loss of his liquor license.

"I never lost it," explains Martin. "But it was so bad I couldn't afford to pay it." When the fee is due, license holders must stop serving and have 15 days to renew, says Martin, after which, he would have had to wait 90 days to apply again.

"I stopped serving," he says. "That hurt, but I still honored my shows."

With bands playing before soda-drinking fans and with three days to go before his liquor license got a 90-day shelving, Martin, who estimates he spends $100 a week on the lottery, stopped at the Shell station on Preston Avenue and put $5 on computer-generated Cash 5 tickets.

"It's just as slick as picking them yourself," he advises, "and if you look at the odds, more winners are random generated."

Unlike some lottery winners who quit work or go yacht-shopping, Martin is pouring Lady Luck's windfall into the Outback, where he's worked for 13 years and which he's owned for two.

He quickly renewed his liquor license, paid his phone bill, painted the club, and he threw a musicians' appreciation party. He paid most of a note he owed on the club, but he wasn't out of the woods yet.

Martin owed the City meals tax payments, and was issued a summons. He's gotten them before–- this one was his fifth in past few years–- and paid them before he went to court, he says. So he was a little perturbed to find NBC29 reporting that he'd been arrested 10 times. (NBC29 issued a correction.)

The bad news didn't end there. About a week ago, on September 1, two men were arrested in an early-morning melee in the parking lot, this time not on hip-hop night but on salsa night.

With all the bad publicity and with most of Charlottesville's music venues controlled by a deep-pocketed music mogul or an arena-based management company, some of Martin's friends are asking why he didn't pocket his winnings and walk away from the Outback Lodge.

"It was meant to be," says Martin of the club. "It's been here 17 years, and we have a better music line up than a lot of places. It's known nationally, and rock musicians say, 'Finally, a real rock club.'"

Martin doesn't describe his lottery win as luck. "I call it more karma or a blessing," he says. "My dad always said you reap what you sow."

And Martin immediately began sowing– by giving $1,000 to the cashier who sold him the winning ticket. And after those dark days a month ago when he thought the Outback Lodge was doomed, Martin wants people to know it's cleaned up, "with no more crazy hip-hop going on," he says. "That's what's getting me. Everybody getting sketched out, and the press was on it."

Continues Martin, "We're trying to get a reputation for good music and as a cool place to be."

He's defied the odds before.


I was brought up to avoid games of chance in general and certainly to avoid the lottery. But it is nice to see a struggling businessperson win and then put the money into his business instead of blowing it on luxuries.

I could argue that a booze-based business is a luxury (but I won't.)

I still can't believe he gave a thousand bucks to the cashier. That's AWESOME.

Pay your respect, by going to the OBL and spending some $$$$ and taking in some tunes. It is a great place to see a show.

Congrats Terry! Thanks again for always giving us a home to play when we're in town!

awesome story. Hope they start getting some good bands. Maybe C.C. will buy them out?

There is no chance C.C. will buy them out. Glad everything is working out terry, the charlottesville music scene revolves aroung outback.

I knew Outback Lodge seemed to be declining. I would think losing The Dawning on Saturday nights hurt their credibility with the punk and goth crowds, but maybe it wasn't making them any money.

Anyway, I wish them the best of luck. I need to get by there more often, next time This Means You is playing I'm there.

100 dollars a week on the lottery instead of paying bills? no wonder he was the "brokest he's ever been." That's not karma thats a bad businessmans dumb luck.

another wise one ..."becareful of your own karma melissa....judgement and its evil twin shame ...shame on those who cast stones to include pebbles!

ThisMeansYou is playing this Friday the 19th!

You live long enoughyou see everything. My son was arrested in New York. He gave a false confession after a charge of assault on a toddler. We are now at 120,000. in legal fees disputing this confession. There was no other evidence just this confession. My son grew up in a horribly dysfuctional family that settles problems with suicide. He told them what they wanted and then was going to kill humself to make the interogation stop. I cannot imagine people who do not have the funds and the resources to fight this. What do they do?? Thank-you to people who help us when we enter the abyss face first.

wow my brother is going threw this right now. he sighned a statment against himself and is now in the trial prosses. we are not a rich family and i have no idea what we are going to do. i just hope the jury sees that my brother is an innocent man and release him. if you have any tips for our family feel free to e-mail me