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


It's a hoot!

Business #1: Bob's Market

Business #2: Suji's Clothing Store on Main St

Business #3: Gilbert's

Why I can't live without these three businessesBob's Market has great produce, meat, poultry, & fish market, and great staff!  Suji's is a great place to find comfortable yet fashionable attire!  Gilbert's is a hoot: tasty Mexican food & great margaritas & wonderful waiters!!!!

Submitted by:  Janet Carter



Businesses who give back to the community...

Business #1:  Bob's Market

Business #2:  Joe's Main Street Diner

Business #3:  Berry Lee Shoes

Why I can't live without these three businessesBob's Market: They have a great meat counter with "old fashioned" butcher services and knowledge. In particular, I get all of my holiday meats there such as first cut brisket for passover and turkey for Thanksgiving. Bob's also gives back to the community when asked.  It is important to me that businesses have a symbiotic relationship with the community.

Joe's Main Street Diner:  Has that good old fashioned diner feel with a counter. It has some healthy selections. It is a good place to bring children. There is something on the menu for everybody.

Berry Lee Shoes:  This is a small shoe shop on Main Street. The proprietor, Margaret, makes a point of knowing her repeat customers. Berry Lee sells very comfortable, high quality shoes, tasteful shoes. Not trendy.  It also has some accessories.  This is the niche that it fills and one that I appreciate.

Submitted by:  Beth Leder-Pack


A mainstay family business + great values

Business #1:  Co-Oportunity

Business #2: .99 Cent Store

Business #3: Maya Cafe

Why I can't live without these three businesses: We absolutely can't do without Co-Op Natural Grocer because it offers great service, good prices and supports local growers thus reducing our carbon footprint while contributing to our healthy lifestyle.  The .99 Cent Store provides us with a myriad of products such as paper paper and cleaning products at affordable prices which help us stay on budget. Surprising I see many well heeled pull into the parking lot with their luxury cars...guess they like a good deal too.  Maya Cafe on Santa Monica Blvd and and Yale is a mainstay family business that's been around for many years and offers tasty Japanese food in an unpretentious atmosphere with great service. You feel well taken care of when dining there and it's nice to know your helping support a family business rather than a large restaurant chain.

Submitted by:  Harold Young


They keep me rolling!....

Business #1:  Marine Market

Business #2:  Bicycle Ambulance

Business #3:  Enterprise Seafood Company

Why I can't live without these three businessesMarine Market makes my neighborhood a pedestrian paradise.  I can walk my dog there in the morning and pick up coffee and breakfast items and never have to get in the car.  Bicycle Ambulance is the kind of bike shop that I didn't think existed here.  It's run by exceedingly fair and honest guys who do good work quickly.  They keep me rolling.  Enterprise Seafood has better fish and better atmosphere than restaurants charging twice the price.

Submitted by:  John Rosenthal


Good food, good times in Santa Monica

Business #1: West 4th and Jane Project

Business #2: JiRaffe

Business #3: The Yard

Why I can't live without these three businesses: I can't live without good food and good times, these three places fit the bill. 

I'd call West 4th Jane my neighborhood watering hole. They have quite possibly the best beer selection in town (No offense to F.O., but it's true) and an eclectic menu that features unique items as well as comfort food standbys that everyone can enjoy. The staff is knowledgeable and the service is fantastic. Good beer, good food, and sports on the TVs. I really couldn't ask for much more.

Actually had my first JiRaffe experience recently and I was really impressed, I'm definitely going to be a regular. From a mushroom soup amouse bouche, to the beet salad, to a pork chop entree that dreams are made of, my experience there was nothing short of amazing. The wine list is fantastic and their recommendation from it was spot on. If I were catholic desert would have sent me straight to confession, fortunately I comfortable with my sins.

If you're a cheese fan you've got to be at The Yard for big cheese Thursdays, they make a grilled cheese with potatoes and short ribs that could convert a vegan. Can't go wrong with anything on the menu here, if you dig the pig, order the pork belly and thank me later.

Submitted by:  Rob Schwenker



A great night out on Lincoln...and shopper's delight on Pico!  

Business #1: Pancho's

Business #2: Cock N Bull

Business #3: Acapillow Home Furnishings

Why I can't live without these three businesses: I have many "favorites" here in Santa Monica but these three are the ones I have committed to supporting this month. 

Pancho's on Lincoln is my husband and my favorite place in all of LA for carnitas burritos...and the prices are amazing.  You get a huge burrito for $4.25 and savor every bite.  The salsa bar is also impressive.  It's a Thursday or Friday night ritual.  We always get it to-go but they got ample seating inside.

Cock N Bull, also on Lincoln, while not big on atmosphere, this place is full of characters.  We used to live in London for awhile and this place cures our nostalgia.  They pour proper pints and have a good beer selection.  Be sure to go for Happy Hour M-F, from 5-7 p.m.  On Fridays, they also have snacks for happy hour. Quiz nights are fun.  Go here and then head across the street to Pancho's for a perfect, low cost evening out in Santa Monica!

Acapillow Home Furnishings.  Who knew that Pico Blvd has one of THE best interior design and home furnishings store in LA?!  Peter and Eleanor have been a tremendous help in getting us off the ground in decorating our new home.   Just going into this store helps inspire--vintage French fabrics, Moroccan tables, gorgeous pillows, Persian rugs....They were recently featured in LA Times Home Section.  This is one of SM's true gems!

Then, I'm going to include a wild card for another business that I visited this month for the first time:   Interactive Cafe on Broadway.  I went because they were participating in the "Buy Local, Be Sustainable" shopping + dining promotion last week.  The space is quite large and funky (in a good way).  I ordered a grilled chicken panini sandwich, which was very tasty and well priced ($4.75 for Buy Local dining week, normally $6.75 which seems reasonable).  It's just around the corner from Third St Promenade and is a good place to grab a quick lunch or meet friends/ mates for breakfast or lunch in a central location.  I'd recommend all four of these local businesses...they help make Santa Monica special and unique!

Submitted by Jennifer Taylor


Life's a Beach - My 3 favorite SM businesses...

Project 3/50 Business #1: Flying Saucers

Project 3/50 Business #2: Big Dean's

Project 3/50 Business #3: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Why I can't live without these three businesses: So few places make me genuinely happy the way these three do.

Flying Saucers is a relatively new coffee shop on Pico, and we needed a coffee shop near the Civic Center!  It's the perfect distance from City Hall - a good break from the action that doesn't take you away too long.  The unique concept and the provocative artwork give it an offbeat, interesting feel.  The owner, Ryan, is always happy to see you (but not in an annoying way) and he lives just a few blocks away so he's our neighbor, too.  I like that.

Big Dean's holds a special place in my heart for it's location off the back of the Pier.  I've known most of the people that work there for years.  They recently added a new back patio which has only made it more popular.  If you need a "Cheers" in your life this may be the place for you - the clientele is usually a mix of long-time locals and friendly tourists; it's a comfortable place to meet up with friends and a good place to steal away for a "beach lunch."  Which reminds me, they make the best grilled cheese in the world!  Really, I don't know what they do to bread and cheese that makes it better than anything I could make at home or find anywhere else.

From the front patio of Big Dean's you get a nice view of the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, another local treasure operated by the good folks at Heal the Bay.  This tiny aquarium is so full of fascinating creatures and good information you could easily spend a couple hours there even though it's only a few hundred square feet.  They're always working on unique public programs and community outreach and the staff members are wonderful, great stewards of the Bay.  And they just got a new Pacific angel shark that everyone should go see!

Submitted by Rachel Waugh

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