News / Spotlights


Highlights from Santa Monica Wellbeing Festival + Buy Local Marketplace

SM Mirror:  Great video from our October 18th event--organized by SM Chamber of Commerce in partnership with City of Santa Monica + Buy Local SM Committee! 

Watch the video here > > >


Buy Local Boosts Charitable Giving

SM Daily Press:  The results of Santa Monica’s “Buy Local Week” show the event raised thousands of dollars for local charities.  “Buy Local Week” ran from Sept. 22 - 28 with local businesses channeling a portion of sales towards local charities.  Each of the City’s economic hubs chose to support a different local charity.  Merchants within the zones organized a variety of in-store specials, sidewalk sales and community activities to raise money.

The Pico neighborhood chose to support Samohi’s Viking Fund. Businesses including Gilbert’s El Indio Restaurant, Mondo Taco, Upper West Restaurant and Acapillow Home Furnishings raised $2,530 to fund the purchase of new safety equipment for 20 Samohi football players.

Montana Ave. collected peanut butter for the Westside Food Bank. Businesses including Texture, The Pretender’s Studio, Pono Burgers, Margaret O’Leary, Citron, Ten Women Gallery, Estelle Boutique and Pure Sense collected 63 jars plus $2,056 in cash donations. According to organizers, the cash donations are enough to purchase eight
servings of peanut butter for 748 children.

Businesses along Ocean Park Blvd., including Santa Monica Yoga and Shaka Shack Burgers collected $828 for the
Westside Family Health Center.  Read more > > >


Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. & Buy Local Santa Monica Partner on Storefront Beautification Project 

Local Photographer Paula Goldman Pairs Vintage Muscle Beach Photography with Excerpts from a Famous Orator to Fill Empty Retail Space

SANTA MONICA, CA (October 8, 2014) -  Riding on the wave of a well-received opening year, Downtown Santa Monica's state-of-the-art, eco-conscious Parking Structure #6 continues its growth as not only a source of 400 new parking spaces for combustion and electric vehicles, but also as a retail shopping destination as brands begin to lease its new retail spaces.  As merchants commence construction on their respective interior spaces, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. and Buy Local Santa Monica partner with local photographer, Paula Goldman, to create a storefront window installation that conceals the construction inside with an exhibit that includes vintage 1940s Muscle Beach photography juxtaposed with an excerpt from 19th century orator, Thomas Fitch.

Buy Local issued a grant of $1,000 with match-funding support from Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. as part of the Buy Local Artist Storefront Improvement Project aimed at matching Santa Monica-based artists with local merchants in order to create temporary and permanent storefront visuals, painted facades, interior window displays and other interventions that will enhance the properties and promote local businesses. In response to a request for proposals for Santa Monica artists, the Buy Local Santa Monica Committee and Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. staff selected photographer Paula Goldman to create an installation that would engage passers-by and activate the street level spaces of Parking Structure #6 in the interim while the ground floor retail spaces are under construction. 

Goldman's vision was to use historical iconic imagery and text to remind viewers that Santa Monica has always been part of the cultural imagination. Inspired by the photos of Muscle Beach performers, including legend Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton—“Queen of the Barbelles”-- Goldman juxtaposed the images with an excerpt from Thomas Fitch’s rhapsodic speech on the day the first plots of Santa Monica soil were auctioned in July 1875.

“Muscle Beach culture in the 1940’s may have seemed like a fantasy to the rest of the country,” states Goldman, “but these were real Californians.” Referring to Pudgy Stockton, she says, “It was really important to me to include a strong woman, and great to find someone instrumental in promoting Santa Monica’s image, both real and perceived. She wore the first two-piece bathing suit, opened one of the first ‘women only’ health clubs, and pioneered women’s strength training at a time when the field was dominated by men.”

About SM Artist Paula Goldman:  Paula Goldman’s photographic work involves reinterpreting cultural manifestations of natural and emotional phenomena. After receiving her BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art, she relocated to Houston, Texas, where she became a founding member of the Houston Center for Photography.  She received an MFA in photography from the California Institute of the Arts. Her exhibitions and publications include the LACE Annuale, Los Angeles, CA; Px3, Paris; The World From Here, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Time Capsule, Creative Time, NYC; Photometro, San Francisco; the Houston Center for Photography; Framework, LACPS, Los Angeles; and Women and Their Work, Austin. Her work is in various private collections; the Museum of Fine Art, Houston; and Metro Art/MTA, Los Angeles. Paula lives and works in Santa Monica, CA.

For More Information on Pudgy Stockton, Santa Monica's "Barbell Belle":  click here

Special Thanks to the Santa Monica History Museum for sharing their photo archives with us on this project!  For more info on the SM History Museum and their Santa Monica historical photo archive collection, click here.


Buy Local Week is Back! Shop, Support Step Up on Second

Santa Monica Centric:  Buy local and give local. That’s the theme of this year’s Buy Local Week (September 22-28), a time when Santa Monicans are encouraged to shop at their neighborhood stores and keep tax dollars in their city to help fund police, fire, parks and libraries.  Read more> > >


Step Up selected by Downtown Santa Monica as nonprofit partner for “Buy Local, Give Local” week Sept. 22-28! 

September 22-28 is Buy Local Santa Monica Week.  This year the theme is “BUY LOCAL, GIVE LOCAL.”  A heartfelt THANK YOU to Downtown Santa Monica for designating Step Up as its non-profit partner!  BUY LOCAl, GIVE LOCAL will promote the fundraising efforts, the participating businesses, and spotlight local business heroes making a real difference in the community. By popular demand, Downtown Santa Monica is also bring back the citywide Buy Local Week Sidewalk Sale to help boost sales activity and visibility.

To learn how you can participate and for more details, please visit   Read more > > >