Business Representatives Explain The Importance Of The Buy Local Campaign

Monday, 9 Sep 2013, 9:21:00 AM

Brenton Garen

The annual Buy Local Expo returns to the Third Street Promenade on Thursday, Sept. 21.
Courtesy image
The annual Buy Local Expo returns to the Third Street Promenade on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Santa Monica’s annual Buy Local Expo is fast approaching on Saturday, Sept. 21. In the lead-up to this fun and important event on the Third Street Promenade, several prominent business leaders involved in the Buy Local sub-committees of Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local, and Live and Stay Local took the opportunity to talk about the importance of the Buy Local campaign.

Gauri-Brienda Ramnath, Whole Foods Market Marketing & Community Relations Specialist

How are you involved in the Buy Local Expo and campaign?

The three Whole Foods Market Santa Monica stores will host our local forager, Kimberly Albright, who can answer questions about how we source local products. We will showcase some of our local partners and their products – from local produce, to baked goods, and body care products – and have a few activities to teach young kids about the importance of buying local products.

Why is buying local meaningful to you and your business?

Whole Foods Market is committed to serving and supporting our local, and global, communities. It is one of our core values to connect our shoppers with the men and women who make their products. This is why whenever you walk into any Whole Foods Market you will see hundreds of local producer profiles throughout the store.

What role do you think The Chamber plays in carrying this message and supporting the local community?

The Chamber is actively hosting events and connecting local partners and community members. The Buy Local Expo is a perfect example of local businesses coming together to celebrate our community and share in a common good that keeps the city economically thriving.

What is one of your favorite local businesses and why?

There are too many to narrow this down to just one. Rockenwagner Bakery is a Whole Foods Market local vendor, and has been extremely supportive of us over the years. Other businesses we respect are Bergamot Station and the Promenade business district. Both are always willing to support our special events and partner with us to help educate the Santa Monica community about Whole Foods Market.

Ria Valas, NMS Properties, Inc. Senior Community Manager

How are you involved in the Buy Local Expo and campaign?

NMS Properties supports the “Buy Local Expo” on many levels. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce, we are also on the Buy Local Committee. Our mantra is live, work, play, shop, and dine in Santa Monica. We get the word out by distributing our Buy Local postcards at our many communities.

Why is buying local meaningful to you and your business?

As a leading provider of multifamily housing in the Downtown Santa Monica area we have provided a thriving walkable community with many choices that benefits everyone who want to have it all, at every budget. To live and work in Santa Monica you really can have it all here and find everything without having to leave Santa Monica. Whether it’s going to the weekly Farmers Market to get the best organic produce and rub elbows with some of our great Santa Monica chefs, or to get your favorite cup of coffee at the Starbucks on the corner of Lincoln and Broadway.

What role do you think The Chamber plays in carrying this message and supporting the local community?

The Chamber supports getting the word out to “Buy Local” 365 days a year. The annual “Buy Local” event gives us all a chance to come together and support one another as a community. Santa Monica is a treasure to experience and this is our day for all of us to shine together once a year and get the word out that we need to support each other all year long and not just for one day.

What is one of your favorite local businesses and why?

I have so many favorites. But, if I had to pick just one I would have to say Santa Monica Place because they have whatever you need whether it’s a quiet place on their terrace deck to soak up some sun or have lunch or shop for some great items. They truly have something for everyone.

Paul Leclerc, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel Managing Director

How are you involved in the Buy Local Expo and campaign?

Our entire team will know the date and time of the event and the importance to show up and support. We are, and have always been, committed to any opportunity we have to support our local businesses. Period. It is critically important for our business partners in Santa Monica to support each other, and what better way than meeting our partners as part of such a great event, referring business, new leads, clients, etc.

Why is buying local meaningful to you and your business?

For the same reasons I described above. My hope is that as a community, we explore any opportunity we have to send our business, or referrals to another business partner in Santa Monica. They are not competitors, they are partners and that is how we want our partners to perceive us also.

What role do you think The Chamber plays in carrying this message and supporting the local community?

The Chamber must be the advocate for members doing business with members. With a goal of providing meaningful benefit to its members, this must be a fundamental priority for the chamber. Additionally, The Chamber’s commitment to events such as Buy Local extends beyond the membership base and our primary goal of being good partners with our local neighbors.

What is one of your favorite local businesses and why?

Ca’ d’oro Bakery for their freshness and quality! And the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market for its atmosphere, freshness, entrepreneurial spirit, quality, and heirloom products.

Patti Braun, Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council President

How are you involved in the Buy Local Expo and Campaign?

I have the pleasure of promoting the Buy Local Expo to community families through our PTA networks. Through the year, with the Buy Local campaign, I also remind Santa Monica families to patronize local restaurants and retailers rather than driving to surrounding communities. Sometimes, it just requires a shift in thinking. They need to know that their dollars make a difference for our kids!

Why is buying local meaningful to you and the PTA Council?

Measure Y and YY, the usage tax, is actually our public schools’ biggest fundraiser, bringing in a necessary $6.5 million to our schools annually. Promoting local businesses through Buy Local supports our schoolchildren in a tangible way, so it’s very meaningful to me personally.

What role do you think The Chamber plays in carrying this message and supporting the local community?

Santa Monica has so many great places in which to shop, eat, and play. The Chamber’s special events and promotions make it easy and fun to keep the dollars in Santa Monica’s economy and support our public schools, parks and services.

What is one of your favorite local businesses and why?

My favorite businesses are so convenient – right in my Sunset Park neighborhood! The good folks at Treats, Salon D5, Goods, Bob’s Market, and The Slice are friendly, offer high-quality products and services, and they are very generous with our local schools when asked to donate products or auction items.

Erica Carter, Seasons 52 Sales Manager

How are you involved in the Buy Local Expo and campaign?

I am a member of the Buy Local restaurants committee for the Chamber of Commerce. I rally our local restaurants to participate in the Buy Local Expo. It’s a great community event and a perfect way to showcase what we have to offer with culinary and beverage delights! Plus, it’s a great way for restaurants who are new to the community to introduce themselves in an informal, neighborly way.

Why is buying local meaningful to you and your business?

At Seasons 52 Santa Monica, we change our menu seasonally to reflect only the freshest ingredients. The local Farmer’s Market plays a part in ensuring that we continue to uphold our brand commitment.

What role do you think The Chamber plays in carrying this message and supporting the local community?

The Chamber is one of the biggest promoters of our local community. It’s one of the most active Chambers I have ever been in contact with. From the Wellness Festival to monthly networking events where establishing a community presence is paramount, The Chamber of Commerce is a crucial component to our community.

What is one of your favorite local businesses and why?

Besides Seasons 52, I love M Street Kitchen, Stella Barra Pizzeria and The Lobster.  All three are the epitome of a local restaurant. You can have breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and everyone is always so nice and makes a conscious effort to remember your name.

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