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


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


Key traits of a good local pizza joint

Santa Monica Business #1: Dagwoods Pizza

Santa Monica Business #2: Santa Monica Farmer's Market

Santa Monica Business #3: Big Blue Bus

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Dagwoods: Santa Monica has a lot of pizzeria's to choose from, and as a result it is important to look for several key traits of a good pizza joint, traits that I believe Dagwoods symbolizes perfectly.  Firstly, a pizzeria must treat their customers with the upmost respect, whether it be how helpful and cooperative they are over the phone, how the deliverers greet the customer at their door, or how they talk with them in person at their shop. Secondly, the pizza joint must charge fair prices for their product: two large pizza's and a 2L soda for $30 and 10% off any purchase over $30 cover that point. And most importantly, the pizza must be TOP quality. With a perfect ratio of cheese to toppings to crust, and the care with which each pizza is cooked in only 20 minutes, I have yet to see another pizza place get both of these aspects down perfectly. Dagwoods, I am so glad to have been a loyal customer over the years and will continue to eat your delicious grub every time I desire that fine Italian cuisine.

Santa Monica Farmers Market: I grew up eating food from here. The sheer variety in vegetable, fruit, and other grown items available is absolutely astounding. To this day, all the fruit in my home comes from the Farmers Market. Not only do these growers deserve every penny they get, but I feel satisfied as a customer to each vendor because I know I am getting some of the best food I have ever eaten in California. From their strawberries to their apples and exquisite grapes, there's never a shortage of yummy eats at the Farmers Market.

Big Blue Bus: This is by far the cleanest busing service I have ever seen.  Not only is each bus kept sparkling clean by a dedicated staff, but BBB is constantly refining and upgrading their fleet of blue machines in order to prove to the rest of the world that Santa Monica stands firmly on our title as a clean city. It is nice to be able to ride public transportation that you know is not causing nearly as much harm as the car you could be driving. With routes all across LA county, I can't wait to see what the next great leap they make will be!

Submitted by: Maximilian Daggy


A family tradition

Santa Monica Business #1: Bay Cities

Santa Monica Business #2: Hot Dog on a Stick

Santa Monica Business #3: Gilbert's

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Bay Cities: This is one of the best sandwich places I have ever been to. I have been going here for as long as I can remember. When I enter the store, it is more than just a store to me but I know it has history in Santa Monica. My parents before me tell me about how they went here when they were kids. I can't live without this place because of the quality and history it holds in Santa Monica.

Hot Dog on a Stick: I was very sad when I found out the one at the mall moved, and so the one at the beach is the last one in Santa Monica. Hot Dog on a Stick is Santa Monica, I can't think of the beach without the fact that I want to go to Hot Dog on a Stick as well. They have the best lemonades and their corn dogs and French fries are delicious too. I can't live without this place because Hot Dog on a Stick represents the Santa Monica Beach aspect of this city and there is no better place to pick up a nice cool lemonade on a sunny day.

Gilbert's: Gilbert's to me represents more than just a Mexican style restaurant, there is so much more there than just a restaurant. When I go there, they know my Dad and they know me by the many times we go there to eat. They have great food, but also they have a friendly atmosphere that is welcoming and it delivers meals that are plentiful and the quality is well worth the price. I can't live without Gilbert's because it holds a historic place in Santa Monica and it is hard for me to think of another quality Mexican restaurant besides it.

Submitted by: Nicolas Breceda


All about the bread

Santa Monica Business #1: Sunny Blue

Santa Monica Business #2: Bay Cities

Santa Monica Business #3: Treats

Why I can't live without these three businesses:   Sunny Blue is a very cute, quick, and thoroughly enjoyable experience. Any time I crave something, but nothing too big and time consuming, I run over to Sunny Blue's and am always greeted with friendly people. I think it is a staple to Santa Monica now, and a place that should be cherished due to its friendly and tasty addition to the community. It's also so good, very addicting- and I may or may not have gone there more than twice a week at one point..

Bay Cities is an institution to Santa Monica, and without it's bread- I just can't imagine a future without Bay Cities bread. Walking in there is always a fun experience, dodging through the tiny store and the copious amounts of people. It's a place that Santa Monica would seem so empty without, the same kind of feeling without the Omelette Parlor. It's also fairly priced, which makes it easy to over indulge ( I don't mind that one bit).

Treats is a great, neighborhood oriented, and teenage employee welcoming place with really good frozen yogurt. I love going there to hang out with my friends and have a very neat, and pretty looking cup of frozen yogurt. I like their unique touch of putting the toppings in the middle of the cup of yogurt and, even better, on top. You really do get nice quality stuff from there, and it is always milling with people from the community on a hot day. I especially like that it brings the sunset park community together more than it has been before, and much more centralized in one place.

Submitted by: Aoife Hayes