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


Clothes for everyone and every style

Business #1: Forever 21
Business #2: Starbucks
Business #3: California Pizza Kitchen

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Forever 21 Whenever I go shopping, Forever 21 is a store that I cannot help but spend hours in. Sorting through racks and racks of clothes to search for the perfect outfit, I can always find something cute to buy. With fairly priced clothes and a huge selection, Forever 21 is a great store to shop at. They have clothes for everyone and every style, from everyday basics to clothes for a fancy night out.

Starbucks There is a perfect little Starbucks two blocks away from my house . It is the perfect stop if I need my dose of coffee or if I am just craving a sweet treat. I love this quaint and cozy coffee shop. It is perfect for catching up with friends, grabbing a quick breakfast, or doing some studying. As I order my favorite drink, a Mocha Light Frappuccino, I feel like I can continue on and do anything.

California Pizza Kitchen California Pizza Kitchen has been my favorite restaurant since I was a little kid. Whether I am with my family, cousins, or a big group of friends, it is the perfect choice. With so many options, even the pickiest eaters can find something they like. They’re Tostada pizzas do not compare to any other pizza I have ever eaten. The Thai Crunch Salad always fills my deepest cravings. CPK is a place filled with memories, good times, and of course good food.

Submitted by: Nikki Kadkhoda


Childhood Memories

Business #1: California Pizza Kitchen 
Business #2: Bob's Market

Why I can't live without these businesses: California Pizza Kitchen is a place I know and love. I have grown up eating CPK. As a child my parents I would go there every sunday. We always ordered the same things, the humus appetizer, the orginal chopped salad, the mac and cheese and the salad pizza. All the food is delcious! I love the bbq chicken pizza and the tortilla soup as well. I remember spending many family occasions and birthdays at CPK. It is a piece of my childhood, a place I have known my whole life and a place I will always cherish.

Bob's Market is a well known place in Santa Monica. I am on my schools soccer and we practice at JAMS three times a week. I always stop there before practice to get a water and a snack. There is a true community feel at Bobs, everyone is helpful and friendly. They have amazing potato wedges and the best fruit in town. My Dad only goes to Bob's Market to get our peaches, they are juicy and full of flavor. Bobs has been a part of my high school career and its a place that is dear to me.

Submitted by: Zoe Giosa-Hirsch


Warm and Inviting

Business #1: The Slice
Business #2: The Counter
Business #3: Treats

Why I can't live without these businesses: I have lived with The Slice all my life. The Slice has a warm and inviting feel to the place. Their food is great, my favorite, hands down would have to their boneless wings mild with a side of blue cheese. The Slice's service is great with friendly faces and even has a TV for those sports fans. One can enjoy a great meal along with their favorite sports team at the same time.

The Counter is open for late night enjoyment. The Counter has a cool layout that allows one side to roll up like a garage allowing for a nice ocean breeze. You can even visit Zoe, who works at the counter, just come on by with a smile and a need to eat. Thier huge menu helps anyone find what ever their in the mood for. Along with TVs every where you won't miss any games.

Treats is shop located at Ocean Park and 17th Street.  They just opened up and people are going crazy over it. I have yet to try Treats, although when I do I bet I will love it. 

Submitted by: Harrison Klann


Good Vibes

Business #1: Swingers
Business #2: Cora's Coffee Shop
Business #3: Flying Saucers

Why I can't live without these three businesses: If you drive past Lincoln and Broadway at around one in the morning, you'll see people gathered on the corner waiting for their booth in Swingers. Swingers is a funky restaurant with delicious food and a colorful staff. It's open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and for people's midnight drunken cravings. The whole environment here--with it's cow head wallpaper, loud jukebox music, and intriguing customers--just sends out good vibes. Swingers is a place where good times are had.

Cora's Coffee Shop is an easy place to miss while driving on Ocean. You really only notice it's small sign if you're sitting in traffic or walking past. If you are lucky enough to notice it, you'll find it to be one of the best breakfast places in Santa Monica. You have the option of sitting in their outdoor patio or at the breakfast bar where you can watch the chefs prepare your meal. Personally, I prefer the bar. Cora's breakfasts range from simply eggs and toast to gourmet. They home make all of their pastries and even make their own simits, which come with their delicious Turkish breakfast special.

Flying Saucers is a combination of both a coffee shop and art gallery. The inside of the shop is small and comfortable with all sorts of crazy art covering its walls. The outside patio is a perfect spot to hang out with your friends, talk and drink your caffeine. It's conveniently located near the high school making it the perfect spot to get away during lunch time. The best part of Saucers though has got to be its staff. These dudes are rad.

Submitted by: Anonymous


Favorite food in Santa Monica

Business #1: Cha Cha Chicken
Business #2: Fosters Freeze
Business #3: Pot & Pan

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Cha Cha Chicken has my favorite food in Santa Monica. everything is fresh, you can bring your own drinks, ordering the food takes a while because the menu is so hard to choose from. they got the jerk chicken enchiladas, and some coconut fried chicken. it always smelled so good, and then one day my mom said she went for lunch and told me it was good, so then i tried it next time i went by, and then for like 2 months straight i had it atleast 3 times a week. its kind of expensive though, they get a lot of tourists probably, its by the beach. theres a giant area to sit outside with little fire warmers for when its cold out, they have fresh hand squeezed juices, and really good tea. i think they just have some reggae pandora station going on the whole time or maybe some playlist cause i hear the same songs like every time i go there. but its still real nice.

Fosters Freeze has my favorite food in Santa Monica also, because i like their big boss burger, with the onion rings, and the bacon, and cheese, also some bbq sauce on the side. they have really good waffle fries. and also the ice cream. i used to go and spend like 20 dollars there on food and ice cream, it was worth it too i think. its not the cleanest place youll ever eat in, or the nicest, or the cheapest, or the most expensive. but i loved it there, they have the same couple of people working there all the time and theyre really nice. i hadnt been there in a while but i just recently went back with my woman, but i only spent like 20 dollars on both of us. we werent really that hungry, and it was freezing outside. it had just turned winter. the lady that works in there that used to know my whole order and everything before, acted like she didnt even know me... it was weird, my girlfriend thought all the tables were dirty. but they give you trays. and now they charge for re  fills.

Pot & Pan is always there for me when i feel like good thai food, but most of the time im too lazy and end up settling for not so good thai food on the corner. they have really good thai iced teas on the corner though, thats the only way i can do it. pot & pan is nice and quiet and mostly empty, they serve you quick and leave you alone. and i like that a lot. i havent been there in a while, but i havent really had thai food in a while either. next time i wont go to the corner. but pot & pan is just out of my way. i wish they delivered, i dont think they do but its alright. they work hard. their food is really good.

Submitted by: Anonymous


Favorite Grocery Store

Business #1: Jamba Juice
Business #2: Trader Joes
Business #3: Chipotle

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Jamba Juice is located on 4th and Santa Monica Blvd.  It’s the best place to go in the summer time or just when you want something refreshing. There smoothies are the best and there are so many choices. They also give you the option to get a boost in your drink for those days you’re feeling a little tired. My personal favorite is the Razzmatazz, its strawberry’s, bananas, and mixed berry juice. It’s the perfect treat after a really hot day.

Trader Joes would have to be my favorite grocery store ever. It’s located on Pico. They have a variety of items in this store. I love going here on the days when I have to cook for myself because the frozen section there has everything.  I normally get pot stickers from there because there reasonable and easy to cook. I like how they have a lot of gluten free things here too like the pancake mix which is my favorite. This will always be the place I go to buy my frozen foods on those days when I really don’t feel like cooking.

Chipotle is on 3rd Street Promenade. They are a Mexican fast food/restaurant type of place. I really love the burritos because there so big and really do fill you up, but there kind of overpriced for how much you’re getting inside of them. The salad makes more sense for the price you pay because most salads are around seven and eight dollars. Even though I don’t like paying eight dollars for just a burrito, I still do it because they taste really good and actually fill me up for a long time so it’s kind of worth it.

Submitted by: Anonymous


The best fast food joint in town

Business #1: SanSai
Business #2: Norms
Business #3: Noma

Why I can't live without these three businesses: SenSai - Located on the corner of 26th and Santa Monica SenSai is a great place to eat. I dont kow how long it has been there, but a couple of months ago i stopped in there after filling a perscription at CVS (which is right next to it). And im hooked. Good food, Good sushi , Good prices, and its fast. In my opinion Its the best fast food joint in town.

Norms - Norms is the basic restaurant, sometimes its great and other times not so much. I remember going to Norms for breakfast since i was a little kid. We always sat at the counter so service here was good. Norms is the best because you can eat any meal at any time of the day since they serve 24 hours.   

Noma - Noma Sushi is on 21st and Wilshire. The food there is great and the staff is always friendly. The sushi seems fresh and the prices are semi reasonable. For me you cant go wrong with sushi and tempura so noma is a top choice on my list for dinner restaurants.

Submitted by: David Newton


Endless Options

Business #1: Forever 21
Business #2: Famima
Business #3: Bubble Boba

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Forever21 - Whenever I go shopping to buy some new clothes, Forever 21 is always the first place I look. Located on the Third Street Promenade, Forever 21 is a store that provides an endless supply of every kind of clothing style—floral, sporty, preppy—you name it. Not only do they have a myriad of fashionable clothes, but they also sell a ton of accessories, including purses, necklaces, nail polish, and much more. Additionally, they have the best deals. I always know that I will not leave the store having spent a hundred dollars on just three items. I can never walk past Forever 21 without being tempted to walk in and leave with something in my hands.

Famima is also located on the Third Street Promenade. I love Famima because it offers anything I could possibly think of. It is my go-to place whenever I am walking around on the Promenade and need a quick bite to eat. It is also very convenient for buying movie snacks. My friends and I always buy our snacks for our movie here because the items are cheap and there are a huge variety of choices that goes way beyond the movie theatres’ selection. I am so glad Famima is on the Third Street Promenade!

Bubble Boba - I must go into Bubble Boba on a hot day. I crave their chilling, flavorful slushies and their luscious ice cream. When I am forced to choose a smoothie or sorbet flavor, I can never decide. The myriad of mouth-watering choices leaves me stuck and standing there for minutes until I realize these employees want to get on with their lives. The employees are extremely nice and always make sure to get my order exactly the way I want it at a fast pace. Bubble Boba is located right next to my house on Ocean Park and 29th street, so I love having a exceptional place that I can just walk to whenever I want to make another trip.

Submitted by: Jamie Hom