Of course, prevailing over the competition isn't always a question of outpacing them--or even giving them a run for their money. Tucker, for example, has no intention of expanding beyond his one highly successful location. Darby and Sonzero want to be contenders in the fashion business, but they don't necessarily have to leave Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren in the dust to achieve that. And d'Addio, while intrigued by the idea of expansion, never envisions a day when his chain eclipses Starbucks. "We intend to be alternative in every way," he says.
In that, there's also a kind of triumph. Let the big guys throw their weight around. Let 'em defend the status quo. Ultimately, taking on Goliath isn't about defeating the giant. It's about having your own day in the sun.