Captain's Comics & Toys hanging tough in Infinity War with giant online retailers

Captain's Comics & Toys hanging tough in Infinity War with online giants (WCIV)

As the holiday shopping season wraps up, businesses big and small are counting their earnings in what's usually the busiest time of the year for retailers.

The season is crucial, especially to small businesses, as they have to work harder to compete against growing online giants like Amazon, Ebay, or even Walmart.

"This is the time where you’re going to meet a lot of new people, where people are coming in buying stuff for loved ones," said Mike Campbell, the owner and manager of Captains Comics and Toys in West Ashley. "A lot of times people are confused or may not know what to look for. So its really important that we put our best foot forward during the holiday season."

Campbell says the big thing that sets their business apart from online giants, is the personalization that comes when interacting with a customer.

"When you come in here and you’re looking for something and you’re really not sure what you need. We really try to find out what would work for you. We’re not trying to sell the generic things on the shelf, we really want to help you find something that’s specific for you," said Campbell

That personalization has kept people coming back to Captains Comics and Toys for over 10 years, even if they move away.

"I was living in Charleston a long time, but I’m out of Vegas now," said Sean Doyal, a regular customer. "But every time I’m back in town, I come by captains, because its just one of the best comic shops I’ve come across."

Doyal says he does a lot of online shopping but prefers to visit local stores regularly because they give him an opportunity to learn something he may not get when browsing through Amazon's millions of options.

"As much as Amazon can learn my buying habits, the algorithm is never going to get good enough to recommend new stuff to me from the publishers that I really like," said Doyal.

For others, the big draw to shopping local is the ability to physically see and inspect something before they buy.

"It’s a lot better for me to be able to put my hands on something, see what I’m actually getting. You know, because these guys always have really good quality," said Rahle Marsh, a regular customer. "You can order something online and it will get all bent up bent up because the post office, you don’t have to worry about that stuff here."

Campbell says one way he works to expand his business opportunities and reach, is by sponsoring and organizing Captain's Comic Expo, Charleston's go-to comic book event which happens this February 23-24.

"You’ll have comic dealers, toy dealers, artists from across the region. You’ll have costume contests, you’ll have big characters that you can meet in a very fun carnival like atmosphere," said Campbell. "Its just a fun family friendly atmosphere."

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