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


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 


Iconic businesses + inexpensive meals

Santa Monica Business #1:  The Slice

Santa Monica Business #2:  The Carousel

Santa Monica Business #3:  Bob's Market

Why I can't live without these three businessesThe Slice has been such an iconic business.  After Santa Monica Pony League baseball practice, my teammates and I would go head across the street from our practice location (John Adams Middle School) to enjoy a fun time with friends and family.  It would be devastating to see this business go down for all the future athletes that practice at John Adams.  This location is so convenient and makes everyone feel welcome.

Another business that I could not live without is the Carousel at the Pier.  I do not know if this is one business or if it is a series of businesses on the pier but this is such a landmark of Santa Monica that if it were even brought up as an idea to close it at City Hall, it would be shot down very quickly. 

The last business I could not live without in Santa Monica is Bobs Market on Ocean Park and 17th (the same block as The Slice). This is another place to get a pre practice or game snack.  My sister currently practices at John Adams with her baseball team and somedays I tag along and throw the baseball with my dad.  After a good nice practice we usually stop at Bobs to get a Nesquik chocolate milk. Bobs Market also has full meals for inexpensive prices which help the students at John Adams and SMC get a meal for a great price.

Submitted by:  anonymous


A place that really makes me feel at home....

Santa Monica Business #1: Bagel Nosh

Santa Monica Business #2:  Palmetto

Santa Monica Business #3:  Bay Cities

Why I can't live without these three businesses:  Before I lived in Santa Monica I always came to visit and the first place I would go was always the Bagel Nosh.  I'm always greeted with the same smell of warm bagels and each employee makes you feel like you're a regular. This is the only place in all of Santa Monica that really makes me feel at home.

I've only recently discovered Palmetto however this quaint soap shop is wonderful, not only offering a panoply of amazing soaps, lotions, lip balm, make up (the list goes on and on) etc, but a very pleasant vibe that you're actually wanted there not only to shop but to converse.

Bay Cities is very special to me.  It holds so many happy memories when I bite into a godmother.  The business is a constant whirlwind of different people and it is such an invigorating place, one that really shows the Santa Monica experience.

Submitted by: Natalie Rade


Satisfying haircuts at my local barbershop

Santa Monica Business #1:  CVS

Santa Monica Business #2:  Berkley Barbers

Santa Monica Business #3:  Santa Monica YMCA

Why I can't live without these three businesses:  There are times in my life when I am in the need of something that is necessary and I need it quick. CVS has been a big help to me for a lot of years.  Helping me get supplies or other things when I need them most.  It is also a great place to grab snacks for a event or birthday cards for friends and family. Having a CVS near my house had made my life a lot easier.

Berkley Barbers is also a business where I live close to.  My hair, like other people's, constantly grows. And that barber shop is a nice comfortable place for me to get (a hair cut).  I go there almost every month to get a satisfying haircut that I need.

Santa Monica YMCA: I do not live my life with such a good diet.  And I am really glad to be part of an amazing gym.  I go there about 4 times a week to exercise and keep my body in a well condition.  It is a great place to lift and swim as well as doing my favorite thing there which is playing basketball.  I would meet up there with my friends and play for hours.


One of a kind items @ the SM Farmers Market + meeting friends

Santa Monica Business #1:  Treats

Santa Monica Business #2:  Urth Cafe

Santa Monica Business #3:  Santa Monica Farmer's Market

Why I can't live without these three businessesTreats is my favorite place to go for a quick study break. After studying for hours with my friend, we love dropping everything and walking to Treats for a nice mental break. The delicious frozen yogurt is the perfect way to reword ourselves for studying for so long, and gives us a nice boost to keep on working once we finish. The service is always fantastic and quick. The best part is walking in and seeing your friends working behind the counter because its a nice way to have a small chat and it makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

Urth Cafe is a go to place for my friends and I if we want to have a cute breakfast of delicious tea and croissants. Or for a nice Friday after school meal after a long stressful week. The food is always delicious and the courtyard in the back is the most relaxing place to sit and chat.

Santa Monica Farmers Market: Going to the farmer's market on Sunday morning for breakfast has been my familiy's tradition ever since I was 6 years old. My parents enjoy delicious omelettes while I go for a crepe with chocolate, strawberries, and bananas.  Although now we do not go as often as we used too I still get excited when my mom announces that we are going.  I love talking to the people there and sampling all their products in search of new kinds of cheese and fruit. My favorite is buying fresh nut-free pesto with sun-dried tomatoes because it is one of a kind and impossible to find at grocery stores.

Submitted by: Liza


Family dinners + frozen yogurt treats

Santa Monica Business #1:  Bob's Market

Santa Monica Business #2:  Treats

Santa Monica Business #3:  Gilberts

Why I can't live without these three businessesBob's is super convenient for my family's grocery shopping.  It's close and the service is great.  We go there about once a week and rely on it for snacks and meals when I'm on work breaks!  If it was gone I wouldn't be able to enjoy my fresh quinoa and almond salad, something I look forward to every week.  My family has been going to Bob's for as long as we've lived in Santa Monica.

Treats is the local frozen yogurt/ shaved ice spot, and after coming often to enjoy their well known salted caramel flavor, I started working there and love it!  We get kids coming in after school (John Adams is right across the street), local families, couples, and people just driving by.   It has a great atmosphere, great product, and I couldn't live without it.

I grew up with Gilbert's.  I remember family dinners going back to when I was elementary school.  I would go after soccer games, concerts, volleyball practice, birthday celebrations, just about any time we needed to meet 

Submitted by: Cora Schutz