Passion and focus have helped Ohio Lottery retailer DeAnna Holliday establish a name for herself. The small business owner, member of the local school board, and mother of three has another title that’s even rarer still. She’s the reigning Mrs. Ohio.
DeAnna’s crowning as Mrs. Ohio was big news for the Coal Grove community that she and her family call home. The Lawrence County village is at the southern tip of the state, bordering Ironton and across the Ohio River from Ashland, KY, with a population of about 2,160. She is grateful for the community’s support.
She competed in pageants as a teen and support from a former Mrs. Ohio encouraged her to enter the pageant world again. She says that preparing for the competition helped her reach a personal best.
A former cell phone company executive, she took another leap of faith leaving the corporate world to go into business with her husband Shawn. Owners of a local convenience store and licensed as an Ohio Lottery retailer since November 2000, her family’s convenience store employs eight, including two fulltime employees. During the past six years, Lottery sales have more than doubled — and as ticket sales and average ticket purchases have grown, so have the winners. The store has seen both $5,000 and $20,000 winners.
“In a small community, there’s a lot of celebration (for big winners),” she says. “I never thought we’d have that type of winner to celebrate.”
For six years, she’s also been a member of the Dawson-Bryant Local School District school board. She donates her school board salary to fund a college scholarship for a local high school senior interested in business management.
“I want to be part of the solution, not the person who can detail every single problem,” she says. “I like to get my hands dirty and make a difference. I want this community to be a good place to live.”