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49ers' success is good for business

  • Nick D'Ambrosia, left, of N and D Sports helps his customer Mana Moana, right, of Rohnert Park find her size sweatshirt at the 49ers memorabilia pop up store on the corner of Commerce Blvd. and Rohnert Park Expressway, Friday, February 1, 2013. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Nick D'Ambrosia already spent a month in the North Bay last fall doing business with fans of the San Francisco Giants, the new World Series champs.

Now the young man from Hamden, Conn., is waiting to see whether the Bay Area's 49ers will prevail Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Such a victory would extend his visit to Sonoma County selling red shirts, caps and other products at a makeshift booth in Rohnert Park.

"If they win, I'll be here another two weeks after the game," said D'Ambrosia, 25, as he hung up a T-shirt in a tent at a supermarket parking lot at Commerce Boulevard and Rohnert Park Expressway.

A Niners win, he said, would result in especially brisk business because "a lot of people are just waiting to buy" apparel and other products that proclaim the team a Super Bowl champion once more.

The 49ers' quest for the Vince Lombardi trophy has prompted sports paraphernalia companies from across the country to temporarily set up shop in Sonoma County. Working out of gas stations and parking lots, salesmen say demand is strong for a range of products they tout as officially licensed by the National Football League, complete with shiny silver badges and NFL-emblazoned tags.

Along with T-shirts and sweatshirts, the booths offer full-color Super Bowl programs and commemorative footballs, ties, dog dishes, logos, flags and banners. Pennants combine the faces of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and his brother, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, beneath the title, "Super Bro."

D'Ambrosia, decked out in a yellow Pittsburgh Penguins hockey cap, works for his family's Connecticut-based business, N&D Sports. Along with Rohnert Park, he said, the company has booths set up in Petaluma, Novato, Mill Valley and three cities on the Peninsula.

Besides N&D, Missouri-based Shallow Concessions has set up concession booths in Sonoma County. On Friday, Barry Dantzer manned one of its booths at a service station at Guerneville and Marlow roads.

The company, Dantzer said, is selling 49ers goods at 11 locations between San Anselmo and Santa Rosa.

Both companies have been in business for years, working professional and college sports, the two men said. Next up for both is The Final Four, college basketball's national championship.


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