Buy Local Challenge Blog

Buy Local Santa Monica has partnered with the 3/50 ProjectTM and students from Santa Monica High School.  What three local businesses would you miss if they disappeared?  Your purchases keep these businesses around, supporting our local economy and a unique, thriving community of businesses.  Your purchases also make a difference to our schools, our parks and our community.  In 2013, purchases made at Santa Monica businesses raised $7.2 million for our schools. Buying local truly makes a difference.

It's simple to participate - pick three businesses you absolutely can't live without, and commit to stopping by, saying hello and spending money among the three this month to spur our local economy.  Then, go even further to support your favorites by telling us which ones you picked and why


Santa Monica Business #1: Pico Barber Shop

Santa Monica Business #2: Raes Cafe

Santa Monica Business #3: Big Blue Bus

Why I can't live without these three businessesPico Barber Shop- I can't live without Pico Barbers because nobody cuts hair like they do. They really know how to make a haircut look better and different from others. Even though its a little over priced its still worth getting your haircut from there.

Rae's is one of he only back-in-the-day cafes that you will see around Santa Monica. They keep it very old school and that's what I like about it. It takes you back to the 1970's era, instead of this new, not so great era. It's one of the best breakfast and lunch spots to go visit.

Big Blue Bus is one of the best things about the City of Santa Monica. You can literally go anywhere on it. It was better when it was only 50 cents, but as everything else in Santa Monica, it had to change. But it's really reliable and it gets you were you need to go without wasting gas and looking for parking.

Submitted by: Emilio Flores


Essential services at my doorstep

Santa Monica Business #1: Big Blue Bus

Santa Monica Business #2: Barnes and Nobles

Santa Monica Business #3: Mike's Shoe Repair

Why I can't live without these three businesses: #1 - I take the bus every single day, and use it to get everywhere in Santa Monica. It's fast, efficient, and always there in times of need. Not to mention, it only costs a dollar! I would definitely recommend the Big Blue Bus system to anyone new to Santa Monica or even to people who wish to cut back on emissions.

#2 - Barnes and Nobles is one of the last remaining bookstores in Santa Monica, and I hope to heaven that it will never go out of business. Although not an independent bookstore, Barnes and Nobles definitely has the zing that a small community bookstore should have.

#3 - I'm not sure how I would manage without Mike's Shoe Repair, since I lose my keys on an almost daily basis. I always get them replaced at this place, which happens to be four blocks away from my residence. The service is fantastic, and so is this location (right next to a starbucks and a yoga place).  



Comic books + great barbers

Santa Monica Business #1: Tommy's Burgers
Santa Monica Business #2: Hi De Ho's Comics
Santa Monica Business #3: Pico Barber Shops # 2

Why I can't live without these three businesses: I chose these businesses due to the reason of the history I have there. Personal experiences from the time I first moved to now in the present. These businesses always been apart of my life.  Having to taste my first and my last chilly cheese fries from Tommy's Burgers was on of the greatest moments of my life. I am upset that they closed it down and now it's under change for another StarBucks.

Every Wednesday going to Hi De Ho's Comics enjoying to read brand new comics of certain series I follow. I remember as a kid I always enjoyed playing with action figures and getting to read their stories excites me.

Pico Barber Shops #2 is a place where i get my haircuts. The barbers happen to be kind and friendly. They love to talk about sports games, certain events and etc.

Submitted by: John Ortiz


My Saturday breakfast place

Santa Monica Business #1: Pedal or Not
Santa Monica Business #2: Bay  Cities
Santa Monica Business #3: Bagel Nosh

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Pedal or Not:  Ever since I was little, my mom and I would go for long bike rides. My dad always wanted to come but he could never keep up. Now with an electric bike he can join us!

Bay Cities has been a treat for as long as I can remember. It's part of every picnic on the beach. Fresh bread before a game. A meatball sandwich afterwards, and a canolli.

Bagel Nosh is my Saturday breakfast place. All the waiters know my order before I say it. The food is delicious. It's a good atmosphere.



Beautiful art + a taste of Mexico...on Pico Blvd

Santa Monica Business #1: Artesanias Oaxaquenas
Santa Monica Business #2: Yum Yum Donuts
Santa Monica Business #3: Carniceria Reynoso

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Artesanias Oaxaquenas: This store is just filled with so much colorful and beautiful art. I have lived right across the street from here my whole life and I just love to walk in there and feel right at home. He displays art that is all around Mexico and sometimes I just love to walk in and see what new piece he has made and or has bought to sell in his store. I have come to buy beautiful pairs of earrings, books on artists, and a few decorations to have at home. I personally have gotten to know the owner and he is such the sweetest and warmest person I know. This is by far my favorite store in Santa Monica to go into and feel right at home and feel like I am never going to get disappointed at what I see inside.

Yum Yum Donuts: For the longest time, as a kid this was the go to place for after school, for me because I had to walk home and if I wanted a snack before going home I would come here. My parents and I come here often when we need a sweet treat that is at a walking distance away from our home. They have a friendly service and affordable prices that even as a kid I would come here with less than a dollar and buy a donut and if I had enough I would get the assorted bag with the smaller donuts and share that with my family, if I hadn't eaten them all already.

Carniceria Reynoso: My family and I have often times come here instead of going to buy meat at a supermarket. As a kid they had all the treats I love, so I would consistently come along with my parents as they ordered meat and I would get from pan dulce to treats that I wouldn't be able to find at a Ralphs or Albertsons. I still walk in at times to indulge on some treats when I walk home afterschool but anyways, It definitely has a feel of home like in the one in Mexico where my parents are from and the owner has always been so friendly and nice.

Submitted by: Xochitl Ramirez


Affordable chic

Santa Monica Business #1: Urth cafe
Santa Monica Business #2: Trader Joes
Santa Monica Business #3: Zara

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Urth Cafe- I can't live without the amazing food... I crave their soups, salads, and lattes all the time. It's location is extremely convenient for getting lunch/studying after school. Their foods is healthy and well made and the ambience is really relaxing.

Trader Joes is extremely affordable and unique (product wise). They have a wonderful selection of vegetarian meals/ to go items for my lunches that satisfy my limited diet. Their workers are so nice and helpful, I always feel very accommodated when I go there.

Zara has affordable chic clothing for a somewhat affordable price. (especially affordable when things are on sale :0) Their clothing makes up 75% of my wardrobe. I wouldn't know what to wear if it didn't exist.

Submitted by: Jennifer Gsell


Let's face it, who doesn't like doughnuts?

Santa Monica Business #1:  Slice

Santa Monica Business #2:  Coldstone Creamery

Santa Monica Business #3:  Krispy Kreme

Why I can't live without these three businesses: The Slice is like a great place to be at whenever you're just hanging out with your friends or when you just wanna make a last minute dinner for the family. I  have good memories eating there with friends before going out and having a good time.  The food is great.  Who doesn't like pizza?  Plus their fries are just great.

Coldstone I recently learned about but I certainly did enjoy their sweet sweet ice cream. It's a great place to go when you wanna have a nice cold treat especially with the kind of weather we usually get. They serve a decent amount of ice cream for a decent price and their flavor to choose from and how they set it up for you is cool .

Krispy Kreme was an obvious choice to pick because, come on, who doesn't like doughnuts. Their doughnuts are it's close by my friends house so whenever I go there we always stop by and get a baker's dozen and enjoy.


Neighborhood convenience, great service + good organic food

Santa Monica Business #1: The Farms

Santa Monica Business #2: Bay Cities

Santa Monica Business #3: Santa Monica Farmer's Market

Why I can't live without these three businessesThe Farms is a neighborhood grocery store for a reason, the neighborhood shops and supports it. Without the Farms I wouldn't have my quick little market down the street from my house or the mouthwatering potato salad and macaroni and cheese they make. The convenient grocery store with great service!

After eating a Bay Cities sandwich or bread you always want to go back for more no matter how full you are. Bay Cities was my gathering spot every Friday after school our Freshman year, it brings memories and delicious food to households. 

The Santa Monica Farmer's Market is a great place to pick up organic and fresh food! I love being able to walk around 3rd & 2nd street with my glass water bottles (good for the environment) and reusable bags in hand picking the food I want to eat. The Farmer's market is a great place to go when I get out of school on Wednesday (at 1pm) and a quick, easy, and helpful meeting spot with my mom.

Submitted by:  Anonymous