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Record  Votes Cast in Santa Monica’s Most Loved Local Business Contest

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Lookout Staff

April 30, 2015 -- An art gallery with a gift shop selling only locally crafted wares, a surfboard shop and a cycle “pathic” fitness center were among the dozens of winners of Santa Monica’s second annual Most Loved contest, officials announced Tuesday.

“Eclectic” was the term one official used to describe the winners in such categories as most loved art gallery, bike/surf/skate shop, kid-centric business and most loved business with that “special Santa Monica vibe.”

Three thousand votes were cast in the online contest  -- far more than the 1,000 cast during the contest’s first year, officials said.

The contest was part of the Santa Monica’s “Buy Local,” campaign. Run by the local business community and the City, “Buy Local” encourages residents and tourists to try out the local community’s shops and eateries.

This year’s contest started before Valentine’s Day, with those interested able to cast votes online through February.

“We wanted to spread awareness of the contribution that small local businesses make,” said Ryan Porter of the Jeff Wagner Agency, which handles media for the contest.

This year’s large number of voters showed just how much the locals appreciate their home town shops and other businesses, he said. The results aren’t just a great “must get to” list for Santa Monica residents, though. Tourists use it to soak in the ambience of the seaside enclave.

You can visit Santa Monica and be like a local, Porter said. “You don’t have to eat at the Spaghetti Factory and can shop somewhere other than H&M.”

The votes were collected across the 22 categories included and tallied by students at Santa Monica High School, officials said.

The categories included everything from most loved kid-friendly or pet-friendly store, to most loved Happy House, Most Loved Businesses on Main Street , most loved clothing boutique and most loved hotel.

This year, five businesses doubled-down on top honors, including Salon Tru, Ten Women Gallery, Gioia, SM Seafood Co. and Cyclepathic Fitness. Two runner-ups in each category also received recognition in what was often a close contest in the various categories.

Among the other winners were ZJ Board House, for most loved bike/surf/skate board shop;  CrossFit Reflex for most loved business on Pico Boulevard; Rusty’s Surf Ranch, for most loved business on the Santa Monica Pier; Cylepathic Fitness for business with the best Santa Monica vibe; Groundwork Coffee, for most loved coffee bar/bakery; Bezian Bakery, for most loved Farmers Market vendor; the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Shutters on the Beach, which tied for most loved hotel/motel for a “staycation.”

Other winners were Swim Heart, for most loved kid-centric business; Harvelle’s, for most loved live music/entertainment venue; Sewing Arts Center, for most loved local, independent business in Santa Monica; Co-opportunity Inc., for most loved natural/organic health food/juice bar; Pure Barre, for most loved new business; and Nature’s Grooming, for most loved pet-centric business.

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