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


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


Big Blue, possibly the greatest service in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Business #1:  Lincoln Cafe

Santa Monica Business #2:  Flair Dry Cleaner's

Santa Monica Business #3:  Big Blue Bus

Why I can't live without these three businesses:  I use these 3 businesses every day.  I love the Lincoln Cafe because it's great cheap Mexican food located 1 minute from where I work.  Everyone there knows me by name and gives me the best service I could ask for. Flair's is the place I work at and pays my bills.  I absolutely love coming in to work because I get to talk to my friends and the great people of Santa Monica.  And the Big Blue is possibly the greatest business Santa Monica offers.  It is a bus that can get you anywhere you need to go, is environmentally friendly, and continues to show that investment in product and community are the two most simple things you can do to grow your business.  Even though I've only lived in Santa Monica for 2 months, I continue to smile bigger every time I look at the community around me. Good times are ahead, heck, they're already here.

Submitted by: Evan Turner


SM's Original Skate Shop, Home of the SMA...where the locals go!

Santa Monica Business #1: Doughnut King

Santa Monica Business #2: Georges Burgers

Santa Monica Business #3: Rip City

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Being a teenager in Santa Monica means a lot of things.. two of these things are for sure; you probably know how to skateboard & chances are you like burgers. Rip City Skateboard's is the original skate shop, home of SMA, Santa Monica Airlines Skateboards.  SMA was operated out of the back of a surfshop owned by Skip Engblom.  That surf shop was Santa Monica's very own Zephyr Surf shop.  And if you don't know about Zephyr, then, I'm not sure why you're on this website because chances are you aren't a Santa Monica local.  But anyways, that shouldn't stop you from going to visit Rip City skates located at 2709 Santa Monica Blvd.  Rip City's has everything you need from helmets to skateboarding socks, and the employees are very friendly and knowledgeable.  The shop is very old school and vintage.

Now, Georges Burgers is great quality food at great prices.  They are located right on lincoln blvd @ 3101 Lincoln Blvd.  You always know you're gonna get what you want when you order.  They make everything from tacos to buffalo wings, and they always hook it up with fries, so I think that's really special & if you go for breakfast you gotta order french toast.

Now, what is Doughnut King, you may be wondering?  Doughnut King is located at the corner of Lincoln Blvd + Pico Blvd near the high school. Doughnut King has great service and make the yummist drinks.  I recommend the milk tea boba.

Submitted by: Zaq



My favorite aquarium, sushi + surf shop with real beachy-bums

Santa Monica Business #1:  Nature Aquarium

Santa Monica Business #2:  Sushi King

Santa Monica Business #3:  ZJ Boarding House

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Nature Aquariums is not only a place where I can go to get my fish tank supplies, but it is a gallery of salt, planted, and freshwater aquariums that amaze me every time I go in.  The Asian owner doesn't speak English perfectly, yet still does anything he can to be as friendly and as helpful as possible when you are asking questions.  It helps me relax going into the store, making me come back every week to see what is new.

Sushi King is a sushi restaurant on Wilshire that my family has been going to for years.  Their sushi is a traditional Japanese style, unlike many new sushi restaurants that are opening up in Santa Monica.  Yes it may be a bit expensive but you definitely get your bang for your buck.  The chefs behind the sushi bar are extremely friendly, being almost offended if you don't start up a conversation with them.  The fish is fresh, you feel like you are in Japan when you go; it's not some "wanna be" japanese restaurant, it makes you feel like you have stepped into another world.

ZJ Boarding House has been my surf/skate/snowboard store since I was a kid.  My dad has been shopping there for years before I started any of these boarding sports and takes me there to get all my new surfing supplies.  Recently I searched all over California to find a new surfboard that was perfect for me.  After about 30 different shops, ZJ boarding house was my place.  I have never been more pleased in a surfboard in my life.  The people there are the beachy-bums that love to talk about surfing or anything related to California really.  It is a great place to learn how to surf/snowboard/skate or get a new board!

Submitted by: Dylan Kleinman