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Thunder playoffs help economy in downtown OKC

Thunder fans are preparing for the first Thunder home playoff amusement Friday night as are zone businesses.

“We are gearing up and ready for a really big crowd tonight,” said Charles Stout, area manager at Bricktown Brewery.

“Every year during the playoffs, we definitely expect an increase in business,” said David Southard, proprietor of Bourbon Street Cafe.

Stout said that amid regular-season home Thunder amusements, sales could increment by 50% or 60%.

“On a playoff Thunder game, it may give us an 80% bump in sales,” said Stout.

Thunder Alley will be set up downtown on Reno Avenue with family exercises, nourishment, merchandise and a beer garden for fans to enjoy.

“People are really coming out. They want to make an event of it. It’s not just an event and then you go home. They come downtown. They walk around. It’s like tailgating around other Thunder fans. Thunder Alley will be open, too,” said Stout.

In the mean time, a new arrangement for a permanent Thunder Alley is in the works, as indicated by Don Mahoney, VP of Thunder corporate communications.

Mahoney said the project has not been endorsed yet by the city but rather would be secretly subsidized by the Thunder.

Business owners said the project would probably add to their sales, as opposed to remove clients from them.

“The more amenities, the more fun, the more things and reasons to come to Bricktown, this district or be downtown, is great. If it’s done by the Thunder, it’s probably going to be top-notch, A1,” sad Stout.

Southard called Thunder Alley a fascination for downtown.

“For example, my family was talking about where to come on Easter. And I said, ‘Well, Thunder Alley will be here, so bring the kids and come down and have dinner and go check out Thunder Alley afterwards.’ I think it’s an an added benefit for sure,” said Southard.

“This is a growing, thriving area. To me, the more quality operators and more quality businesses, the more reason for people to come to the district to have fun,” said Stout.

“We’re very excited and it’s on great Friday, also, so we’re expecting the best today,” said Thunder fan Brookey Beasley. “Go Thunder!”

“I think it’s going to be a busy weekend. We have perfect weather. We couldn’t ask for a better set up for a great weekend in Bricktown,” said Southard.

“We love thunder basketball!” said Stout.

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Hilda Garner has done her majors in journalism from Michigan. Her younger sister is also a successful writer, and the rivalry between the two is legendary. Since becoming a full-time writer, Hilda has published several books. She is currently working as a freelance writer on residentweekly.com.