They don't sell Thunder T-shirts or jerseys or hats, but several metro area retailers are finding creative ways for customers to express their love for the city's NBA team while keeping cash registers ringing.
Discounts and promotions are just the tip of the iceberg. Some businesses are crafting special products named after Thunder players or giving fans a free reason to walk in the door.
At In The Raw Sushi in Bricktown, fans can nosh on Durantula rolls and toast the team with an Absolute Thunder. Other Thunder-themed menu items include Rumble rolls, Thunder rolls and Iblocka rolls — each a culinary creation of fish, steak or shrimp, veggies and sauce rolled with sushi rice. Bartenders serve plenty of Absolute Thunder drinks — a blue and orange combination of vodka and mixers — and Thunder Up cocktails before and during games.
“This playoff series has been really great for business,” said Anna Mains, managing partner. When there's a Thunder game downtown, the eatery's sales are equivalent to a Friday or Saturday night, even if it's Monday, she said.
More menu items
More Thunder-themed menu items will be determined by the restaurant's Facebook and Twitter followers during the next round of playoffs.
After the Thunder's star player, Kevin Durant, clinched his third-straight NBA scoring title last week, Balliets held a flash sale, offering customers a discount of 28 percent — Durant's scoring average.
“They had to come in and say ‘I love KD' or ‘I love the Thunder,'” said Balliets' owner, Bob Benham.
“We were busy. People love it.”
He said he's working on more specials as the playoffs continue but didn't want to reveal anything yet.
Another retailer, Walden Cleaners in Norman, came up with its latest promotion — free dry cleaning of Thunder gear — in a manager's meeting. Owner Tonny Walden said the deal, which is good on one item per person per day, will continue through the playoffs.
Quite a few customers have brought in Thunder gear since the special began Thursday.
“We're going to wear our Thunder shirts and keep it going all the way through the championship, hopefully,” Walden said.
Meanwhile, a cake designed to look like Thunder player James Harden has attracted customers' attention at the Homeland store at 9225 N May Ave.
Store manager Jerry Ward said they've sold three of the cakes, which cost $49 and come in white or chocolate, and lots of shoppers have stopped to look or take a photograph of it.
Other Homeland Thunder goodies include basketball-shaped cakes and blue and orange cupcakes.