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


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 


Bob's, an important aspect in my neighborhood

Santa Monica Business #1:  Bob's

Santa Monica Business #2:  Tacos Por Favor

Santa Monica Business #3:  The Slice

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Bob's:  I went to John Adams and Will Rogers, so naturally, those after-school runs with my friends played a big part in my life.  Not to mention that since I live about 2 blocks away from Bob's, my family practically depends on it.  I have known the manager for probably at least 12 years, and it is an important aspect in my neighborhood.

Tacos Por Favor:  I go to tacos por favor probably a lot more often than I should.  At least once a week, but it's worth it.  I have been eating there for over 10 years I can always count on it for a delicious mexican meal.

The Slice: Like Bob's, the Slice is a few blocks away from my house.  I have many memories of elementary/middle school birthday parties being held there, and I also love it because it's great for a last minute dinner.

Submitted by:  anonymous


Tacos please! The best donuts & omusubi's so good that I decided to work there

Santa Monica Business #1:  Tacos Por Favor

Santa Monica Business #2:  Sunny Blue

Santa Monica Business #3:  Donut King

Why I can't live without these three businessesTacos Por Favor, where do I start?  You've been in my life since 2nd grade.  Ten years later, and you're still in my life. I remember when the french fries I bought from you were $0.60 and the bag was filled to the very top of the bag.  But now they cost $1.76 and are only half way filled.  But that doesn't matter! We grew up together so it only makes sense that we change together.  I have so many memories with  you and one of my fondest memories of us is walking in for the first time, going to the cashier and saying "Tacos please!'

Sunny Blue, it all started last year, when I first tried your omusubi's.  I thought, "Oh boy, I could eat these all day everyday."  And so I decided to work there.  Because I started working with you, I literally ate your omusubis every single day and never got tired of them.  Working with you made my summer one to remember.  From eating the food when no one was watching, to slacking off in the kitchen with David, it sure was fun.  I don't know what I would do if I lost you.

Donut King aka DK aka Second Home, you are my favorite business in all of Santa Monica!  Because you are right across the street from my school, for the past 4 years I have 3 of your delicious donuts almost everyday not including the weekends, and I have enjoyed every bit of it.  At the beginning of my second year in High School, something interesting happened.  Since I was now a regular customer, it was like you could read my mind, and I didn't have to say my order out loud.  I'd walk in, you'd say, Crumb Bear Claw with Glazed Twist in your pleasing Chinese accent and I'd say "Yup." Donut King, YOU ARE THE GREATEST!

Submitted by: Ayinde Shofu


Great sandwiches, good BBQ

Santa Monica Business #1:  Bay Cities

Santa Monica Business #2:  El Pollo Loco

Santa Monica Business #3:  Reddi Chicken

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Basically, without Bay Cities around, there is no other place to go to find a great sandwich. Jersey Mikes or any other sandwich place around doesn't do anyone justice like Bay Cities.  It also brings in business around the area because the place is always packed.

The only reason El Pollo Loco is on my list is that it is the only decent place to eat around my High School. You can actually find somewhat healthy things to eat unlike some of the other places around the area.

Reddi Chicken is a good little spot in the Brentwood Country Mart.  If I'm in the area I always head over to this place to get a couple of delicious items they have on the menu. Without it, the neighborhood would be lacking in a good place to get some good BBQ dishes.

Submitted by: Matthew Sherman



Model rocket shop + my favorite ice cream from a community business

Santa Monica Business #1:  Evett's Model Shop

Santa Monica Business #2:  Bay Cities

Santa Monica Business #3:  Treat

Why I can't live without these three businesses:  As a kid I spent almost every Sunday doing the same activity with my family, going to Evett's Model Shop and buying rockets. My dad and I loved to build model rockets and we bonded over how fun it was.  My dad is a really crafty guy and we always looked for cool new ways to do creative things.  Evett's is the shop of my childhood. Every time I walk in there (which isn’t as often as it should be) I get a happy warm feeling of comfort.  I feel a connection to my childhood there because it is how I bonded with my dad.

Bay Cities by far makes the greatest sandwich, ever.  From the meat, to the bread, everything about a sandwich from this local Santa Monica deli screams amazing.  I love heading over there after long school days, ordering a godmother, hanging out with my friends, and watching the sunset over Lincoln and Broadway. Bay Cities has this warm environment even though its always crowded. When ever I have a friend in town who doesn’t live there I make sure we go to Bay Cities so that they have try one of the greatest things Santa Monica has to offer.

I go out for ice cream probably once a week with my friends.  We love catching up on what's going on over an ice cream cone and Treats is the best place to do it.  The family that owns it are our good friends so I like giving them business but its also nice knowing that I am buying from a community family. The people who own the parlor live near me and I would rather support them then a chain place like Baskin Robins that doesn’t really honor and care about their customers.

Submitted by:  Sadie


Living in Santa Monica without these 3 stores just wouldn't be the same

Santa Monica Business #1:  DK's Donuts and Bakery

Santa Monica Business #2:  Betsy & Tracy

Santa Monica Business #3:  Bob's Market

Why I can't live without these three businesses:  I have grown up with all three of these stores, and living in Santa Monica without them would not be the same whatsoever. Honestly, it just wouldn't feel like Santa Monica.

DK's has the city's best donuts and they are open 24 hours... I mean, are you kidding!

Betsy and Tracy is an adorable clothing shop that I have always loved, especially since my name is Betsy and my mom's name is Tracey!

I live down the street from Bob's Market and it really has always been my neighborhood grocery store.  From going there for a quick after school snack when I was at John Adams Middle School to grabbing Fried Chicken and Jo-Jo potato fries for an easy and delicious dinner.

Submitted by: Betsy Mebane