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


Early Morning Boost

Business #1: Donut King
Business #2: Wildflour
Business #3: Bay Cities

Why I can't live without these three businesses: When you have to get up at seven in the morning to got school you most likely need a nice boost of energy. And you might guess where I choose to go at 7:45 in the morning and if your guessing Donut King, well your right. They always have the freshest selection of doughnuts, pastries and croissants every morning. There coffee is nice and hot and the best part its fresh and cheaper then Starbucks or Coffee Bean for that matter. I can always go there on every cold winter morning for a nice cup of coffee and dozen doughnut holes to start my mornings. If this store whet out of business I would no longer have my morning coffee and doughnuts. That would be the most depressing day of my life.

Every month my friends and I have a tradition to go out and have lunch some where. We usually end up at the same place every time. We end up at Wildflour on main. The place with yummy pizza and fresh subs ready when you order. There barn like restaurant is a great place to hang out with friends or family. The offer a variety of food and combinations. I recommend the classic cheese pizza with a Cesar salad and a pink lemonade Snapple.If your leaning more Italian then you could order pasta or a breaded chicken steak. I promise you, you can order anything on the menu and it will be good.

I got to admit my favorite restaurant/ market in the whole world is Bay Cities. The one place I know what ever i order will be good hands down. I love the smell of their fresh bread. But no sub could beat there delicious God Mother. It is literally the mother of all sandwiches. With its delicious four meats and if you add the works it will make your mouth water at just staring a it. I can also trust Bay Cities with backing fresh bread daily. I could eat a whole tomato basil bread all by my self it is that good. Just talking about it makes me very hungry. If you have not gone there and order a sandwich there is something seriously wrong with you. It is one of those places you must go to before you die.

Submitted by: Camila L 


Tasty Pasta

Business #1: Fritto Misto
Business #2: 7 Eleven
Business #3: Whole Foods

Why I can't live without these three businesses: First, Fritto Misto is a small little Italian food restaurant on Colorado, across from the new Big Blue Bus building. This place has possibly the biggest plates of pasta you will ever see in your life, and it may be the best. The pasta is made in house, making it just taste that much better. 7 Eleven on 7th and Wilshire is a good spot to get a quick snack or drink if you are on to go, or just in need for a coca cola slurpee. There is always a very tasty, and at the same time inexpensive snack i can go and grab from 7 Eleven. Finally, Whole Foods is a great place to buy groceries obviously, but that is not why my family goes there, its for their dinner items. There is things from pizza by the slice, tuna hand rolls, macaroni and cheese, and my favorite the steak sandwich.

Submitted by: Ethan Heisler


Childhood Memories

Business #1: 17th Street Cafe
Business #2: The Counter
Business #3: Santa Monica Pizza Kitchen

Why I can't live without these three businesses: The 17th street Cafe has been in my life since I was very young. Every mother's day my family meets to eat there at around 3 right before breakfast ends and the dinner service begins. The mini muffins are iconic to the Cafe and when they are dropped off at the table piping hot at the start of my meal, I feel a sense of comfort. I usually get the chocolate chip pancakes with strawberries and bananas or one of their delicious omelettes. 17th street Cafe is a little piece of my childhood. The memories I have created their with my family and friends, are memories I will never forget.

The Counter is an extremely successful restaurant franchise as well as my place of work. It's a very unique experience as you can customize your own burger, and you're given many choices to choose from. As a worker and long time customer, the Counter has a comforting family environment and everyone who works there is friendly, kind and hardworking. It's a place to meet interesting people and eat delicious food while your at it. I have created memories there, established new relationships and found life long friends.

The Santa Monica Pizza Kitchen is another place that has been apart of my life since I was very young. I used to live a block away and every sunday night we would get a pizza and one of their delicious salads, and have a pizza party. Let me remind you that a pizza party is very exciting for a 7 year old! Santa Monica Pizza Kitchen has been a place that I have felt connected to since I was a child and honestly can't live without. The pizza is top notch and the memories that I have created because of this place are ones I will never forget.

Submitted by: Zoe Giosa-Hirsch


Everyone's Sandwich Spot

Business #1: Bay Cities Italian Deli
Business #2: Jamba Juice
Business #3: Urth Caffe

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Bay Cities Italian Deli: It's everyones sandwich spot. You can't live in Santa Monica without going to bay cities and have cravings for it every once in a while.  WIth well known sandwiches and always a line, Bay Cities offers its customers quality food well worth wait. Their signature sandwiches, such as the Godmother, have people willing to wait in a line. They always have fresh bread; there is something for everyone to love.

Jamba Juice: As a kid, I would always go to Jamba Juice with my family. Their smoothies have something everyone will love; a perfect refresher after a long day. For people interested in eating healthy, they have WheatGrass Shots and offer light smoothies with less calories than their regular smoothies.

Urth Caffe: In such a great and busy block, Urth Cafe is the perfect place to enjoy a boba or indulge in their wide variety of fresh food and desserts. There may always be a line, but the quality of the food will definitely be worth it. It's a good spot to hang out with friends and relax. With flexible hours, Urth Caffe is without a doubt a spot you have to try.

Submitted by: Sabrina K


Find a new videogame

Business #1: GameStop
Business #2: PF Changs
Business #3: Keyboard Concepts

Why I can't live without these three businesses: 1. GameStop. I could not possibly live without GameStop if it every closed down. GameStop is where I get all the video games that I need and love to play. Every time I need to go and get a videogame or I want to buy a videogame I walk over to GameStop and buy myself a fun videogame and the usual videogame I buy lasts me about at least a good month before I start getting bored of it and have to go purchase a new one. I guess you could conclude from this that I am someone who really likes to play video games and without them I usually get sad because videogames is also a way I use to interact with other people or with friends.

2. P.F Changs. Usually whenever I want to go eat Chinese food P.F Changs is the place I go to. For me it has the best Chinese that I have ever had, considering the fact that I have lived in Sri Lanka for over 5 years where the Chinese food is really not that great. Whenever I go for dinner at a restaurant my family goes to eat at P.F Changs for Chinese food, we are Italian but we love many different kinds of cuisines.

3. Keyboard Concepts. Since I am a pianist I need my books. I go to Keyboard Concepts to buy all my piano books that I need anything form; Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Debussy, Chopin they have them all. I go over to them and just look for the books usually together with my private piano teacher because he knows what the good editions are. Without Keyboard Concepts I would not be able to continue on my journey in learning new masterpieces of music and expand my knowledge of music.

Submitted by: Anonymous


Santa Monica Favorites

Business #1: Tender Greens
Business #2: Starbucks
Business #3: Poquito Mas

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Tender Greens have the best salads! Located on 2nd and Arizona, it's the perfect place to drop in when you're at the promenade. It's healthy and delicious, which makes this restaurant a regular place for me to eat. I always order the Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Salad and it never gets old. The crispy lettuce, the mashed avocados, the feta cheese, and the crunchy tortilla strips are all topped with the cilantro lime dressing, transforming a boring salad into a delectable meal. Their drinks are also recommended, as they are refreshing and cool. My favorite is the fresca and mint lemonade mixed, which is basically a combination of watermelon and lemonade. This drink goes well with any salad so don't forget to try it out! But the one thing you should never forget to order is a baked dessert. They have so many desserts to choose from, including lemon bars, muffins, loaves of bread, and so much more! This is by far my favorite place to eat in Santa Monica.

Starbucks is a chain coffee company that is located in many places throughout Santa Monica. As I wander all over the city, I tend to not have a favorite. Starbucks is place people usually get coffee or frappuccinos, but I fell in love with their Tazo Teas this summer. On a hot and sweaty day, a Shaken Iced Green Tea Lemonade or a Shaken Iced Passion Tea is a must. One sip will revive your body and will have your taste buds asking for more. These sweet and energizing drinks will have you running around again. If you don't like your drinks too sweet, you can always ask for less pumps of sweetener. The friendly staff will gladly alter the drink as you like it. Starbucks is the best place to pick up a drink on a run or sit down and study for a test.

Poquito Mas is another favorite restaurant of mine. Located on 20th and Wilshire Blvd., this Mexican cuisine restaurant will become your new favorite as soon as you try one of their burritos. All of their tortillas are made fresh in the restaurant and they only use the freshest ingredients. If you're lucky, you can see the workers using the tortilla maker and pressing little balls of dough into flat tortillas. Anything you eat in the restaurant is made in the restaurant. The salsa, the beans, the chips, and the tortilla are made right in the kitchen. The food is always tasty and will make you want to come back for more the next day. The staff is courteous and will readily take your order any way you like it. This air conditioned restaurant is regularly busy during lunch and dinner times but their fast service will have you ordering in minutes and the food will be out fairly quickly. If you're around the area, you have to go and try it out!

Submitted By: Dorcas Kong 


Delicious and Fun

Business #1: Yummy Cupcakes
Business #2: Famima
Business #3: Aahs!

Why I can't live without these three businessesYummy Cupcakes is ridiculously expensive--about three dollars per cupcakes.  It is so worth the cost!  They have the most delicious cupcakes.  The cupcakes are freshly made and are amazing.  My personal cupcake is the Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Coconut flakes on top. I would recommend that anyone who has a sweet tooth goes to this amazing little shop.

Famima is this cute little Asian grocery store on the Third Street Promenade.  It has sushi, noodles, salads, rice balls, and yummy Japanese deserts and snacks as well as American food and snacks.  It has amazing steamed buns and random food and drinks that are delicious AND fun!  It is even entertaining to go and just look around the store, although it is nearly impossible to leave without buying anything.  This is a store for people who love trying new things!

Aahs!: It's a costume store...It's a toy store... It's a decoration store! This shop has almost everything.  I, personally, love to just go there with friends and look at the random paraphernalia they have stocked on any day.  It is seasonal; so on Halloween it has spooky costumes and decorations and bags full of candy.  On Valentines Day it has cards, and candy hearts, and stuffed animals.  It also has great potential pranking "tools" to buy for April Fools or just to annoy your friends.  This store is fantastic for people of all ages!

Submitted by: Jane Khalameizer


A place to unwind

Business #1: Krispy Kreme
Business #2: Bob's Market
Business #3: Barnes & Noble

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Krispy Kreme - A local business I could not live without is Krispy Kreme and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf located on 1231 Wilshire Blvd. It is a great place to grab a quick cup of coffee that goes perfectly with a delicious treat like a traditional Original Glazed Doughnut. Costumer Service is exceptional; the employees are always friendly and take their jobs very seriously. It also offers a spacious dining area where costumers can enjoy their treats or work on their computers with the free Wi-Fi that is offered. Any costumer who enters will leave satisfied.

Bob’s Market - Bob’s Market located on 1650 Ocean Park Boulevard is a fantastic business that has fresh produce, a delicious deli and excellent costumer service. It provides everything one would need at a very affordable price and they often have many products that wouldn’t be found in chain grocery stores. Employees are very helpful and even help costumers pack their cars with their groceries and always do it with a warm smile.

Barnes & Noble - Barnes & Noble located at 201 3rd Street on the Promenade is the perfect bookstore to unwind in. With their three spacious floors one can find a variety of books, games and materials. On each floor there is something for everyone like a music store, a stage for children to read on and a Starbuck’s Coffee shop where one can enjoy a nice latte or a warm coffee. It is great to have such a diverse bookstore locally because there aren’t many reasonably priced bookstores around. Service is always outstanding and employees are always ready to lend a hand.

Submitted By: Anonymous