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


Healthy qualities of each business

Santa Monica Business #1: Ralphs

Santa Monica Business #2: Subway

Santa Monica Business #3: Kreation Kafe

Why I can't live without these three businesses: These three businesses are very important to my community, particularly because of the healthy qualities about each business. Ralphs is the market closest to my house and offers many healthy, tasty foods that are very affordable. I feel very comfortable at Ralphs. The workers are always really helpful, and they always have my favorite products. Subway is another business that I love,\ because they are very quick in making the sandwiches, the prices are cheap, and there are many healthy sandwiches to choose from. Kreation Kafe is not the cheapest place to go for lunch, but it is certainly the most organic and healthy of the three. These businesses are all vital to my life, and I hope they stay popular and in business for as long as I am living in Santa Monica.


Places that make Main Street special

Santa Monica Business #1: ZJ Boarding House

Santa Monica Business #2: Sunny Blue

Santa Monica Business #3: Rudy's Barbershop

Why I can't live without these three businesses: I don't live in Santa Monica, but I used to go to the school Smash. I have always been in and around the Main Street neighborhood.

ZJ's Boarding House is very important to me. I used to skate and would get all my equipment and apparel there. It has always been there and makes me feel at home when I walk along Main street. It has an authentic feel to it. I always think of the legendary Z boys. I don't know the people that work there, but they are all so friendly and laid back. It's a great environment. It is one of the places that makes Main Street special.

Sunny Blue has been a place that I have been going to for years. It serves great food that is unique and different, not only from Main Street but LA. I love the food and how quickly its made. Though its a small location, there is always somewhere to sit or stand and feel the Sunny Blue experience. The menu is great as it explains what is in each rice ball. The open kitchen is also very entertaining and interesting. The employees are very friendly and work hard.

Rudy's Barbershop is the only place I go in the US to get my hair cut. I have been around LA looking for a place that is friendly and suits me. Rudy's has a great environment with employees that are friendly, and all have different unique styles. Rudy's is also very affordable and overall do a great job.


Getting lost in the store

Santa Monica Business #1: Trader Joe's

Santa Monica Business #2: Cafe Crepe

Santa Monica Business #3: Whole Foods

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Trader Joe's holds a special place in my heart. My dad and I make daily trips to Trader Joe's and have been since I was a little girl. It is my go to place for snacks and lunches (salads and wraps), and my dad’s go to place for wine. Trader Joe's has the greatest vibes and the best food. Their prices are unbeatable and their freshness and quality never has to be questioned. The employees are fun, inviting, and nice, and the store is inviting in general. You could spend hours in the store. The samples are a nice addition as well.

Cafe Crepe is my go to place for a crepe. There aren’t many crepe places in Santa Monica, and they use fresh ingredients. It is a fun place to hang out with friends and smell the ocean breeze. Although, crepe is in the name, Cafe Crepe does not only serve crepes but many other dishes as well. It is affordable and delicious and a great place to go to for a midnight snack and a cup of coffee although the pictures on the wall are slightly disturbing. It is within walking distance, and I have many memories there with my brother and my friends. It definitely holds a special place in my heart as well. 

Whole Foods - I could spend hours simply looking at teas. The idea of healthy eating is very inviting at Whole Foods, although it can be a bit pricey. The food is delicious and makes for great lunches. Each time you go, you find something new to try whether it be a new type of drink or snack. The variety of different things makes it all the more exciting especially getting lost in the store.

Submitted by: Raeesa Dhanji


Food I can eat almost every day

Santa Monica Business #1: Shophouse

Santa Monica Business #2: The Slice

Santa Monica Business #3: Bagel Nosh

Why I can't live without these three businesses: I can't live without Shophouse for a simple reason, because it feeds me almost everyday when I'm at work. It's an affordable place around my work that I can eat almost every day and never seem to get tired of it. However, every once in a while I can't handle a super spicy bowl from ShophouseBaja Buds saves the day, rolling up the best burrito in town (debatedly). Bagel Nosh is also a very important local business to me because, for years, my friends and I have made a tradition of going to Bagel Nosh in the morning after a long weekend night, as a sort of cleansing. So thank you to these local businesses.

Submitted by: Austin Forsyth


A city is nothing without food

Santa Monica Business #1: Joe's Pizza

Santa Monica Business #2: Bay Cities

Santa Monica Business #3: Farmers Market

Why I can't live without these three businesses: A city is nothing without food, without a thriving community of restaurants, and places for fresh produce. Bay Cities is like a portal to Italy, filled with fluffy bread, delicious treats, and to-go meals that are affordable to eat everyday. Without a fresh loaf from Bay Cities, my homemade paninis would be nothing out of the ordinary. I depend on Bay Cities as an alternative to the processed food offered at chain stores. Joe's Pizza has been my favorite pizza in SM since I discovered the tiny spot years ago. For a long time, I ordered from them at least twice a week, and the delivery men knew me by name. Trust me, Joe's is the best in town. Finally, the Farmers Market is somewhere I've frequented on the Promenade when the stalls are set up since I was a baby. My family depends on the organic produce and continues to support actual farmers by buying from the Farmers Market.

Submitted by: William Shaffer


Studious on Sundays

Santa Monica Business #1: Bagel Nosh

Santa Monica Business #2: N.Y. Bagel

Santa Monica Business #3: Bru's Wiffle

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Bagel Nosh, N.Y Bagel, and Bru's Wiffle are my favorite local breakfast joints in Santa Monica. Each breakfast place has a unique breakfast meal that I love - N.Y Bagel has the bacon egg and cheese bagel, Bagel Nosh has the breakfast burrito, and Bru's Wiffle has the waffle hamburger that is unbelievable. After a long Saturday night, Sunday breakfast is essential for me to have the energy and motivation to go through my day. Being a procrastinator, like most students in the U.S, I leave all my homework till Sunday and therefore have to sit for hours in concentration. Without a healthy and full meal, that is also affordable, I would never be able to complete my work. Thank you N.Y Bagel, Bagel Nosh, and Bru's Wiffle.

Submitted by: Efe Toros


Good food for the late night

Santa Monica Business #1: Izzy's Deli

Santa Monica Business #2: Bagel Nosh

Santa Monica Business #3: NY + C Pizza

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Each of these businesses is very close to my house, which is on 14th and California. All of these businesses are within walking distance, and I couldn't live without good food right next to my house that is easy to get. Bagel Nosh is a great place to go for breakfast, and I go there at least once a week. Izzy's Deli and NY + C Pizza are both open really late, and Izzy's is open 24/7 so they are both great for the late night. These businesses are all local and not chains. Izzy's has been here forever and is somewhat of a Santa Monica landmark. NY + C is somewhat new, but it is a great place for pizza in Santa Monica and has some culture to it. All these places represent a different part of Santa Monica and bring residents together.

Submitted by: Andrew


Hangouts and meeting spots

Santa Monica Business #1: Bob's Market

Santa Monica Business #2: The Slice

Santa Monica Business #3: Thyme Cafe and Market

Why I can't live without these three businesses: These are the three most important businesses in my neighborhood.  Since I was a young kid, I've been a regular of The Slice and Bob's MarketThe Slice served as a hangout and meeting spot for me and my friends, and they never failed to serve a great slice of pizza. Bob's Market has served for both snacks for me and groceries for my entire family.  The butchers at Bob's Market are some of the best in Santa Monica, and the produce is always fresh. Thyme Cafe and Market is much more new, but we were ecstatic to have it as an addition to our community.  The salads and sandwiches are great, and the desserts are amazing. Overall, I can't image my life, or my community without these businesses.