by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Northwest Man Cave owners Ron Sanford (left) and Linda Zaderey recently opened up shop in Wilsonville. Their goods include a wall of team pint glasses. How often have you been disappointed with a sports product you’ve purchased based on shiny advertising imagery?

If you said, “oh, yeah,” or “all the time,” you’re right in the target demographic for Ron Sanford and Linda Zaderey, owners of the Northwest Man Cave.

One of Wilsonville’s newest businesses, the Northwest Man Cave opened earlier this month in the Old Town neighborhood. And more than most, it is a venture based largely on solving what had become a personal frustration.

“I think it started out trying to find something on the Internet,” said Sanford, “and when you get it to your house it’s not what you expected it to be. We wanted the tangible feeling of having something in your hand.”

They aren’t selling jerseys or other traditional sports apparel. They’re leaving that for larger retailers with better merchandising agreements. Instead, the Northwest Man Cave is focusing on providing sports fans with a seasonal choice of accessories that range from pint glasses and beer mugs to unusual items such as an Ohio Buckeyes table that looks like it came out of a 1950s diner. Everything from NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA and NASCAR will be covered.

In other words, it’s just like the Northwest Man Cave mission statement: Any space can be your space. And with merchandise turning over from football to basketball season, for example, you’ll be able to count on finding the most appropriate items when you walk through the door.

That’s not counting the hunting and fishing section, which also sets the store apart from the typical sports retailer.

“You can go to the mall and buy a hat or T-shirts and pennants,” Sanford said. “You can buy that stuff all over the place, but as far as the home furnishing or neat little items, we figured if there’s one fan here that can’t find their stuff then there’s a market for this.”

It’s a rare enough business that the couple had trouble finding a landlord willing to lease them space before they inked a deal with Wilsonville on an Old Town vacancy. Once they did, however, they hit the ground running and could not be more pleased.

They’re currently in the midst of a soft opening, with a more elaborate grand opening planned for Nov. 9 that will involve live radio, special sale items and more. That party will get started around 11 a.m. that morning.

That’s just part of the wisdom and strategy for a successful opening imparted by months of classes and consultation with the Portland district office of the Small Business Administration.

“We wouldn’t be here without SBA — they were solid,” Sanford said. “I baked bread for 32 years for Oroweat Bakery in Beaverton. Neither of us has any retail experience whatsoever — as far as setting up a retail spot, not one bit.”

After speaking with counselors who have experience running their own businesses, Sanford and Zaderey felt like they were on much more solid ground.

“They take you through the steps,” Zaderey said. “It challenges you, because they really ask you tough questions.”

The two business partners still live in Beaverton and commute daily to and from Wilsonville. But they are convinced they are in the right spot.

“Licensed sports products is a $12 billion industry in the U.S. and Canada,” Zaderey said. “There is $3 billion annually spent on home furnishing items, nonapparel items, and that’s where we really wanted to focus on, the decorating, outfitting your space aspect of it. A lot of people carry shirts, and we just want to be different.”

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