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Buy Local Santa Monica Stores Pony Up for Local Schools  

By Melonie Magruder
Lookout Staff

August 15, 2011 – In an era when municipalities are scrambling for ways to attract business tax revenue and boost local enterprise, the City of Santa Monica is known for its innovative ideas pairing merchant partners with civic engagement.

Inspired by the city’s Buy Local Santa Monica program, the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) took a page from the city's playbook to launch “Buy Local For Our Schools,” engaging the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., and local merchants in an effort to counterbalance some of the deep budget cuts suffered by local school districts during the recent fiscal crisis.

Participating merchants in the Buy Local For Our Schools program donate four percent of every purchase to the SMMEF. And the deals that can be found offer a host of creative specials:

Cherry Picked Thrift Shop on Pico has shelves full of back-to-school items, including lunch boxes, bicycle helmets and huge discounts on all clothing while the weather remains warm.

GoodsLA on Ocean Park Blvd features eco-friendly, sustainably harvested birch journals, school supplies and lunch bags made by a women’s co-op in Boliva.

The Closet Trading Company on Main Street has consignment fashions from your teen’s favorite brands like True Religion and Juicy – at 70 percent less than what you’ll find at a department store.

Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar will donate 15 percent of all tasting sales to SMMEF during its Angel Shares Happy Hour, Monday through Friday.

“People can make their Back-to-School purchases count even more this year,” SMMEF Executive Director Linda Greenberg Gross, said. “What many people don’t realize is that buying locally really helps the schools. Everyone can contribute just by buying what they need right here in Santa Monica.”

SMMEF will promote the program by posting banners at Santa Monica schools the end of this month to raise awareness among students and families.

Buy Local Santa Monica is a city initiative to encourage purchasing – and keeping the fiscal benefits – in your neighborhood. This keeps dollars where they can most help the community – to the tune of $45 for every $100 spent at a Santa Monica business.

The benefits even stretch out to about $68 on $100 returned to the community from purchases at independent, locally-owned stores through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

In other words, spending locally ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested right here in Santa Monica.

To find participating merchants, go to


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