Buy Local Challenge Blog

Buy Local Santa Monica has partnered with the 3/50 Project.TM  What three local businesses would you miss if they disappeared?  Your purchases keep them around, supporting our local economy and a unique, thriving community of businesses. 

It's simple to participate - pick three businesses you absolutely can't live without, and commit to stopping by, saying hello and spending $50 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


A very influential guitar shop

Santa Monica Business #1:  Back on the Beach Cafe and Food Company, Inc

Santa Monica Business #2:  Bolivar Cafe + Gallery

Santa Monica Business #3:  McCabes Guitar Shop

Why I can't live without these three businesses: Back on the Beach is one of my favorite places to eat on a sunny Sunday morning.  I am ALWAYS in the mood for a huge serving of their brioche french toast, and I go to extreme measures to get it whenever possible.  Even back in the 1st grade, I would always beg my parents to take me to Back on the Beach for a post-ballet recital dinner.  Back on the Beach will forever hold a special place in my heart and tummy.

Bolivar is also a favorite restaurant of mine.  My favorite memory from Bolivar is ordering their surprise smoothies and always being amazed by their new tastes.  The sandwiches are mindblowingly beautiful and scrumptious, and the service is always friendly and personable.  If it weren't for Bolivar, my smoothie knowledge would be nothing compared to what it is today.

McCabes guitar shop is very influential to my life.  I took 5 years of private viola lessons at McCabes, and a year of guitar as well.  McCabes was my home every Friday from 3-5 for all of middle school and some of elementary school.  I will always be thankful for everything I learned at McCabes.

Submitted by: Kate Story


One of the most delicious pizza

Santa Monica Business #1:  Color Me Mine

Santa Monica Business #2:  Santa Monica Pizza Kitchen

Santa Monica Business #3:  Whole Foods

Why I can't live without these three businessesColor Me Mine is one of my favorite places to go. When I was little, I went there for a friend's birthday party and I made a butterfly box.  I still have it and I use it to put my hair accessories.  Just a year ago, I went there again to make a coffee mug for my boyfriend's birthday present.  If Color Me Mine left I would be very sad because I have fond childhood memories from there and I wouldn't be able to make something worthwhile for someone I love.

Santa Monica Pizza Kitchen has one of the most delicious pizzas. When I'm hungry, it is the best place to go for a quick and tasty lunch or dinner.  I would be sad if Santa Monica Pizza Kitchen wasn't in Santa Monica anymore because I wouldn't be able to get good pizzas.

Whole Foods is my favorite supermarket and I always get my hummus and pita chips from there.  It has various hummus and they are all so good.  I especially like the Mediterranean dip and the sea salt pita chips.  If it were no longer here, I would be so sad because I wouldn't be able to get my most favorite snacks in the whole entire world.

Submitted by:  anonymous


Fun at the car wash

Santa Monica Business #1:  Vanilla Bake Shop

Santa Monica Business #2:  N.Y. & C Pizzeria

Santa Monica Business #3:  Village Car Wash

Why I can't live without these three businessesVanilla Bake Shop has always been one of my favorite bakeries.  Not only are the cupcakes delicious, yet there is so much variety.  It is always a go-to for getting an additional "treat" for a friend on their birthday or an end to a craving.  The business also has choices of not only cupcakes, yet it also has macaroons, cookies and much more.  Its convenient location always draws me in and never leaves me unsatisfied.  I would miss this business if it disappeared because of my sweet tooth and how fantastic the atmosphere is.

I have only "recently" become a huge fan of N.Y. & C Pizzeria.  It wasn't until I was driving down Wilshire with my friend that they suggested the business and I had never heard of it. Their appalled reaction forced me to try it out. As soon as the slice of cheese pizza was delivered to my table, I was hooked. The pizza made truly melts in one's mouth and is impossible to resist. They provide a very friendly vibe and great customer service which allows me to keep coming back. Although I am not a "regular", I will never turn down an opportunity for this pizza that is unlike anywhere else (and you get a bang for your buck!).

The Village Car Wash was not advertised as a Buy Local SM Businesses, however I do think it deserves its recognition. This self serve car wash is located on Main and Ocean Park and I can honestly say that I absolutely love it.  It is fast, fun and inexpensive!  I recommend this carwash to all of my friends because I treat it as a fun activity every time I go. If this business disappeared, I would be very disappointed just because of how often I go to it and the great features available with washing one's car, such as putting wax on your car, instead of having to take it to another place.  (Note from Buy Local editor, we'd LOVE to get The Village Car Wash signed up and any other Santa Monica businesses who are not yet active in the Buy Local SM campaign--it's free.  All they need to do is go to --please help encourage them so we can add them to the Buy Local business directory!  Thanks!)

Submitted by: Magda Piekos


See Santa Monica's real beauty through its beaches & colorful lights @ SM Pier

Santa Monica Business #1:  Pacific Park

Santa Monica Business #2:  Barnes and Nobles Booksellers

Santa Monica Business #3:  Cafe Crepe

Why I can't live without these three businessesPacific Park: While I don't go much on the rides here anymore, I still feel like it's a significant park of the Santa Monica Pier.  Without the amusement park rides and the food, it would be like any other beach in Los Angeles. The Pacific Park brings entertainment to the kids and tourists, who can see Santa Monica's real beauty through its beaches and the colorful lights that come out at night.  Even though I've grown out of rides, the beach wouldn't be the same without the screams of the kids on the roller coaster.

Barnes and Nobles has been my go to place ever since I was little girl.  Whether it was simply buying a book for school or sitting down in random places with a good book that I would have gotten addicted to, I love this place because it brings out my nerdier and "educational" side, which sometimes gets lost in all the studying.  I love being able to go back here and just dwelling into these random books.

Cafe Crepe-This food place has been my favorite at the 3rd Street Promenade and whenever I go, I always stop to get crepes.  When I first tried a crepe, I didn't like it at all.  But then I had a weird craving for it one day and ever since then, I always get them.  Without this place, I wouldn't go to the Promenade as much as I do!

Submitted by:  Kiran Salehani


Places where kids can go

Santa Monica Business #1:  Barnes and Nobles Booksellers

Santa Monica Business #2:  Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Aquarium

Santa Monica Business #3:  Pacific Park

Why I can't live without these three businessesBarnes and Nobles Booksellers- When school does not provide the books or textbooks I need, I usually end up getting most of my books from Barnes and Nobles.  It is easy to have it at the Promenade because it is close to where I live and the spot where I hang out the most so whenever I need to get books, it is right there.  At Barnes and Nobles they provide any genre of books and also has a nice sitting area to read and really start the book to see if I want to buy it.  I have always enjoyed going to Barnes and Nobles and sitting in the kids area to read my book.

Heal the Bay Santa Monica Aquarium- As a kid I used to go to the aquarium all the time.  It was the main spot to go before going to the beach.  I really did not know much about sea mammals, but just going and seeing different species always caught my attention.  Aquariums are a good way to teach kids about what is in the ocean and different that species that their. This business means so much to because it has had a connection with me since I was a kid and I hope that people can enjoy it as much as I can.

Pacific Park- The rides at Pacific Park are great.  They keep the beach entertaining and a place where kids can go.  I have always loved the pier during the night when the sun goes down and lights shine.  Tourists seem to always enjoy the pier when they come and see and the beach is not a place to just lay down and relax but also to go on rides and enjoy food areas.  I have gone to many events that were at the pier and (if we lost it), it would be leaving the beach without its main attraction.

Submitted by: Safina Hashim