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


Great family memories

Santa Monica Business #1: Sears

Santa Monica Business #2: George's Burgers

Santa Monica Business #3: Norms

Why I can't live without these three businesses: I always grew up with these around these places. When I was a kid I would go to Sears a lot with my parents, and now connect with it. George's Burgers is a great place to eat. I also go there pretty often to eat and hang out. Me and my family know the employees who work there and they know us. Even though the Norms was taken down, I have so many memories from that place. We knew the cooks and waiters, just like we do at George's. Even if these to places get taken down like Norms, I will still always have the memories of my experiences there and I will never forget them. My family would spend so much money in these places.I have a lot of great memories at these places.

Submitted by: Alfredo Perez


Pico, the core of Santa Monica

Santa Monica Business #1: 99cents Store

Santa Monica Business #2: Yum Yum Donuts

Santa Monica Business #3: Eddies Liquor

Why I can't live without these three businesses Eddies liquor may not be the cleanest part of Santa Monica but it is part of its history. It has been there ever since I can remember and it is a heart of Santa Monica. The 99 cents store is a place were both rich and poor shop. The richest person in santa monica knows about this store for a reason. It is also easliy accesible since it is on Pico. The yum yum donuts store isnt far away from that store either. After a venice family clinic visit a donut for a little kid sounds great. All of these stores are on Pico, the core of Santa Monica. I think these stores should be saved.

Submitted by:  anonymous


Best avocado burritos in town

Santa Monica Business #1: Bay Cities

Santa Monica Business #2: George's

Santa Monica Business #3: Pancho's Tacos

Why I can't live without these three businesses:  1.  Bay Cities:  I go to Bay Cities for any special occasion or during a nice and sunny day after work during the summer. Bay Cities has the best sandwich in the city and I would not be able to live without the Godmother and the various items they sell. It is a true Italian deli.

2. George's: I live near George's and I believe it has the best charbroiled burger in town. I always like to go there with my dad after I go take batting practice down the street at Marine Park. It's a great place to go if you want something fast.

3. Pancho's: Similarly with George's, Pancho's is a place I always go to to get an incredible Avocado burrito after a hard day of school or baseball. It's a great place to sit down for lunch as well during a weekend afternoon. I can't live without this place because it is a fast decision when I cannot decide on where to go for lunch.

Submitted by:  anonymous


A little storefront eatery with a real sense of community + an "Old Santa Monica" movie gem

Santa Monica Business #1:  Sunny Blue

Santa Monica Business #2:  Aero Theater

Santa Monica Business #3:  Holy Guacamole

Why I can't live without these three businesses: SUNNY BLUE- This is one of the few places in Santa Monica where I walk in and am immediately greeted by name.  It is a place I feel welcomed, comfortable, and at home. Not to mention it is one of the most delectable, unique places I have ever eaten. There is an extremely apparent and real sense of community at the little storefront that is Sunny Blue. It is also quite special to be able to say I have been a custumer since its open a few years ago.  I love how little it has changed and how big of a part it holds in my heart.

AERO THEATER- There really is no movie theater that compares to the authenticity of the Aero. It is not your conventional movie-going experience, but that is what makes it so special.  They play films that you haven't seen in ages or ones you've never seen or heard of at all! It screams "Old Santa Monica" in it's relaxed atmosphere and original billboard. A trip to the Aero means meeting interesting individuals and falling deeper in love with the art of cinema.

Holy Guacamole- Great guacamole, complimentary chips, and terrific tacos... what more could one ask for?! There is something about the small space, the hot sauce displayed on the walls, the funky florescent lighting, and the smell of the smoke from the grill that transport you to a different place and time while dining in here. It truly never fails to please and there is no other place I'd rather go for Mexican food or a little late-night snack!

Submitted by: Sadie Eller 


Surf boards galore

Santa Monica Business #1:  Sweet Rose

Santa Monica Business #2:  Whole Foods

Santa Monica Business #3:  ZJ's Boarding House

Why I can't live without these three businessesSweet Rose on San Vicente (and Pico Blvd) is the perfect place to go hang out with your friends and family. Not only is their ice cream the best I've ever had, but they are also constantly changing their flavors with the seasons, giving people like me (a regular), a variety of ever changing options.

I probably go to Whole Foods at least 4 times a week.  Whether I'm just getting a snack, a meal, or enough to sustain me for the coming week, they have so many options of healthy foods that make me feel great! Whether the food is already prepared or not, it's all delicious and I have so much fun going there.

Surfing is such a huge part of my life, and ZJ's is both in the perfect location and never fails to impress me with new products.  Even if I'm just making a quick stop to grab a bar of wax, I can't help but admire the hundreds of pristine boards, that one day I hope to have.

Submitted by: Elliot Fleck


Cookies for breakfast!

Santa Monica Business #1: Callahan's Restaurant

Santa Monica Business #2: Vienna Pastry

Santa Monica Business #3: Vons

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Callahan's: This was my place to go every Wednesday mornings with my mother, aunt, cousin, and some of my moms' friends. As they all sipped their cup of coffee while I would gobble up my bagel with cream-cheese or my stack of pancakes. What makes this place wonderful besides the food was the lovely owners that were so kind and friendly all the time!

Vienna Pastry: Whenever I felt like having cookies for breakfast, yes breakfast, this was the place to go. I would get some coffee like my mom and devour some of my favorite cookies like the chocolate ones, and the pecan butter cookies while she had a raisin bran muffin, or a cheese danish. Yuummm! They also have the BEST fruit tart!

Vons: When my mom stayed late for work I would walk here to grab either some mac-and-cheese, potato wedges, or some Campell's Soup can of Spaghetti-O's! This was great because I had many options I had to choose from.

Submitted by: Cecy Perez


Where everyone is treated as a friend

Santa Monica Business #1:  The Slice

Santa Monica Business #2:  Campos Tacos

Santa Monica Business #3:  ZJ's

Why I can't live without these three businessesThe Slice has pretty much been the go-to pizza place for as long as I can remember.  Plus they have fries, wings, pasta, salad and plenty of other delicious options.  Whether it's after baseball or soccer practice, or a last minute dinner, Slice never disappoints.

One of the first foods I can remember eating is a bean, rice and cheese burrito from Campos.  While back then I could barely finish half of the burrito, I have finally worked my way up to a full one, and could probably eat two.  Especially since the one in Venice closed, we need the Santa Monica one more than ever.

Last but not least ZJ's Boarding House is a staple in the Santa Monica (mainly Ocean Park) community.  Everyone who works or generally hangs out there will instantly treat you as friend and offer great advice on surfing, skating or pretty much anything.  

Submitted by: Paul Miller


Coffee + solitude

Santa Monica Business #1:  Poquito Mas

Santa Monica Business #2:  Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Santa Monica Business #3:  Starbucks

Why I can't live without these three businessesPoquito Mas is important to me in my life because it is the main place that my family and I go to after my many performances (Band Concerts and Theater Performances). This place has become a tradition for my family and I feel happy that Santa Monica has a place like this.

My local Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is a place that is convenient for a "pick me up" while staying at my mother's office while she would be working long hours. It is great because it is walking distance and I am able to get my and my mother's coffee and walk back without dealing with the hassle of street lights and crowded intersections.

Starbucks is on my way from school and is convenient because I am able to get my coffee and head to the Santa Monica Public Library while enjoying my Iced Soy White Chocolate Mocha while working on my many assignments. This place is beneficial for anyone who wants a quiet place to finish assignments and coffee.

Submitted by: anonymous