By Gene Williams
March 19 – The City and the Bayside District Corporation have launched a program to encourage shoppers to spend their money in Santa Monica during tough economic times.
Officials hope the eight-week public awareness campaign – dubbed Buy Local Santa Monica – will help ensure the Downtown remains profitable and sustainable by letting people know about the benefits of shopping locally.
“We are very excited about this program,” said Bayside Executive Director Kathleen Rawson. “It’s so important – environmentally, economically and emotionally – to nurture the relationships right here in our backyard.”
Buying local now may be more important than ever to help Santa Monica weather the current economic storm tearing through the nation, said City Manager Lamont Ewell.
“Having the community come together in support of one another is essential to our getting through these difficult economic times,” Ewell said. “Shopping locally not only helps to achieve this objective, it also helps to reduce carbon emissions. In the end, we become an economically stronger and healthier community.”
As the campaign rolls out, television segments featuring local businesses will appear on Santa Monica City TV, press releases will be sent out and advertisements featuring local shops and services will appear in print and on-line media. In all, 32 Downtown businesses will be highlighted.
The City wants to awaken appreciation for the diverse range of businesses available in Santa Monica, said Jennifer Taylor, senior administrative analyst at the City’s Economic Development Division.
“There is a huge range of products and services that we have right here in our community,” Taylor said. “When you’re supporting local businesses, you’re supporting the local community, employees, neighbors – and you’re keeping money in the community. Those are cyclical benefits that it brings back to the community by buying local.”
Taylor noted the program will benefit “all kinds of gems of little businesses,” including everything from niche specialty shops to auto service mechanics to the farmer’s market and the restaurants that prepare and serve its produce and meats.
“We’ve got much of what you need right here in Santa Monica from apples to zippers, from a to z,” she said.
Doing business with your neighbors makes good economic sense, City officials said. For every $100 spent at a local business, $45 stays in Santa Monica.
Buying local also means less pollution and traffic, as many businesses are within walking or biking distance.
“Buying locally supports our Santa Monica businesses, keeps resources in our community and reduces our environmental footprint,” said Shannon Parry, sustainability coordinator at the City’s Office of Sustainability.
“This is a win-win for a sustainable Santa Monica,” Perry said.
Downtown businesses can find out how to get involved with Buy Local Santa Monica through a new webpage on downtownsm.com . The webpage features important facts about the program and information about what other cities are doing. Additional information can be found at www.buylocalsantamonica.com.