The following comes from an Oct. 22nd story in Daily Finance.

Steve Peters runs Catholic Books & Gifts, a small, family-owned business that has been in Southern California for 20 years, and he knows what it is like to go head-to-head with Amazon and other online retailers.

[The business was started in Huntington Beach in 1994; it now sits at 9049 Garfield Ave. in Fountain Valley.]

He can’t compete on brand awareness. “The toughest challenge for us with an Amazon or even a Barnes & Noble is that they are well known across the country.” Nor price. “Many times they beat us on price,” he continued.

But he can win on service. Being smaller enables him to have a more intimate relationship with his clientele. “We have a big advantage in a couple key areas. Knowledge and selection,” Peters said. “Even though Amazon is a million times larger than us, they can’t go in and familiarize themselves with each item they carry. That’s our No. 1 advantage. Almost daily, people come in and ask for a gift, describing in detail the person the gift is for. Being able to point customers in the right direction in these situations is a major advantage.”

Peters has also taken the same tack that many small-business owners battling Amazon have by picking a niche market and becoming a specialist. This enables him to stock a deeper selection than the online giant can. “Barnes & Nobles doesn’t carry 10 percent of what we have in stock, and Amazon doesn’t even carry half of the books we have,” Peters said. “So we have customers who come in and find books here that they can’t get anywhere else.”

….But just because he runs a brick and mortar business, that doesn’t keep Peters from mixing it up with Amazon on its own turf. “You can create an account on our website and shop online with us as well,” he said. “We deal direct with many small publishers who don’t want to sell to Amazon because they know they will squeeze all the mom and pop shops.

Peters’ business model echoes the famous words of Hall of Fame slugger Willie Keeler, whose advice to rookies was, “Hit ’em where they ain’t.

To read the original story, click here.