It’s safe to say that Cavaliers playoff fever took a small toll on productivity while adding to morale Wednesday at Goodyear’s global headquarters.
A Cavs pop-up store in the Akron tire maker’s main entrance courtyard off Innovation Way attracted hundreds — if not more than 1,000 — of Goodyear employees, many of whom stood in line more than an hour to buy Cavs “Defend The Land” gear and other apparel.
In particular, people shopped for the latest wine-and-gold clothing under a new co-branding arrangement with Goodyear. They also took pictures with Cavalier Girls dance team members and shot basketballs for a chance to win a Cavs T-shirt.
“I just want some gear with the new Goodyear and Cavs logo,” said Lynda Canty, a Hudson resident who works in supply chain management. “I think I’ll get a jacket for myself if they have any,” she said.
Goodyear’s Wingfoot logo will appear on Cavs uniforms next season under a multiyear deal announced in May. Terms of the deal weren’t made public, but media reports said Goodyear will pay millions of dollars a year to place its Wingfoot patch on the players’ clothing.
“It was great to see so many Goodyear associates turn out to celebrate the relationship between Goodyear and the Cavs, two Northeast Ohio organizations with shared values of drive and determination,” said Seth Klugherz, Goodyear marketing director.
Many of the people in the headquarters courtyard were also thinking ahead to the Cavs-Golden State Warriors NBA Finals that open Thursday night.
Steve Kelleher, a Hudson resident and information technology contractor with Goodyear, said he thinks the Cavs will win the NBA championship in seven games. “They have to win one of the first two games on the road,” he said.
Kelleher waited in line to buy items for himself and his son, “anything my bank account can afford,” he joked.
Robert Louis, who builds NASCAR race tires in the building next to the headquarters, was among those who won a T-shirt by shooting a basketball through a hoop. The Norton resident said he was surprised by the large turnout.
“I don’t think they expected this many people,” he said.
Natalie Lindsay-Smith, a senior paralegal in Goodyear’s law department, said she bought a Goodyear-Cavaliers zip-up lined jacket and a T-shirt for herself.
“This is good. This is awesome,” the avid Cavs fan said. “This gets you pumped for the game that’s coming up.”
Greer Connor was among a handful of employees who shopped early and then worked outdoors during the pop-up event, taking advantage of the day’s gorgeous late-spring weather.
Connor brought her laptop so she could polish a workshop presentation that’s part of a new community volunteering program Goodyear kicks off this week.
“I was out here at 10:30,” Connor said. The Cleveland native, 34, said she is a longtime Cavs fan and that it has been fun watching the basketball team and the city “blossom and grow” over the years.
“Just this wonderful mesh of amazingness popped up over the course of my lifetime,” she said. “It really brings out the best in people and shows our wonderful, scrappy spirit of this region.”
Rachel Barnett, new assistant category planning manager in Goodyear’s North American commercial tire business, looked to purchase wine-and-gold co-branded Goodyear clothing. One shirt she bought will be appropriate to wear to work on casual Fridays, because it shows pride in both Goodyear and the Cavs, she said.
“Unity in the community,” Barnett said. “In general, I just think it’s really fantastic that the Cavaliers and Goodyear are partnering. It’s great to see Goodyear out there in positive ways.”
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.