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SM Hopes to Capitalize on Pre-LA Marathon 'Foot' Traffic With Buy Local Day

This weekend's barrage of events will allow "everyone to support our community economically," Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Laurel Rosen says.

Amid ongoing economic woes and environmental initiatives nationwide, buying locally is becoming all the rage in communities across the U.S.—and perhaps nowhere more so than in Santa Monica. In an effort to achieve sustainability and boost business, the city's Chamber of Commerce, government and companies have been stressing the importance of residents spending their dollars in their own neighborhood.

On Saturday, Santa Monica's Buy Local Campaign—which represents more than 300 businesses—will likely achieve its highest profile yet, thanks to its first-ever . A blitzkrieg of events are scheduled for the and elsewhere in Santa Monica; they include a massive , sales on Main St. and Montana Ave., a presence at the Airport Art Walk and more.

It's no coincidence that Buy Local Day is falling on the same weekend as the , Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Laurel Rosen told Santa Monica Patch.

"We're having 50,000 people come into our area," including marathon runners, spectators and volunteers, "so it's a built-in opportunity for everyone to be onboard. [The creation of Buy Local Day] had everything to do with the marathon coming to town last year [for the first time], and our businesses wanting to be a part of it and take advantage of the high number of people in the community."

For Buy Local Day, first and foremost is the expo, which Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (formerly the Bayside District) is helping coordinate. Eighty local vendors—as well as raffles, live music and other entertainment—are on the program for the festival-style event, which will last from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The vendors will hold giveaways and discounts as well.

When the event begins, the first 300 people who visit the expo info booth on Third and Santa Monica will be gifted with a Buy Local goodie bag. Later in the day, at 2:30 p.m., the Santa Monica Band and Spirit Squad will perform and march from Broadway to Third and Wilshire, where Mayor and City Manager Rod Gould will officially declare Mar. 19 as "Buy Local Day."

After the proclamation, raffle drawings will be staged, with five winners each receiving a $1,000 shopping spree in Santa Monica. Customers who make any purchase anywhere in Santa Monica on Saturday and bring their receipt to the Buy Local expo raffle table (at the info booth) will be entered. Each receipt amounts to one raffle ticket.

The raffle will be accompanied by a musical performance from Los Angeles-based indie-pop artist Ashleigh Haney. Other entertainment at the expo includes three stages' worth of performances by students from Santa Monica schools; and free dance, martial-arts and fitness classes.

(Note: The Saturday farmers' market on Third and Arizona will still take place at its normal time, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Buy Local Day will extend beyond the promenade, however, with each Santa Monica business district staging its own sales and other activities.

Montana Ave. businesses will have a "" featuring a trunk sale, along with a Buy Local art project, cupcake decorating and live music. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Sixth to 17th.

Meanwhile, on Pico Blvd., businesses at Third, Lincoln, and from Cloverfield to Centinela will have a sidewalk sale, also from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A similar sidewalk sale will be held during the same time frame on Main St., with live music also planned.

Finally, from 12 to 5 p.m., the Buy Local Campaign will be at the Airport Art Walk, the annual event featuring 60-plus airport-based artists and performers.

While Santa Monica has had a local-business-and-consumer expo in years past, "there's been conversations for years" about creating a full-fledged Buy Local Day, Rosen said.

An estimated 60 percent of money that a customer spends at local businesses goes back into the person's given community. Through sales taxes (which recently rose in Santa Monica) and local-employee paychecks, the money supports city services and schools. That's not to mention the environmental aspect: Buying locally reduces one's carbon footprint, of course.

For additional information on participating businesses, go to BuyLocalMarket.com. The site also features an iPhone/Android application. Moreover, 4 percent of all discounts sold on the site will go to the .

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