Businesses in Downtown Santa Monica are collaborating to support local education initiatives through the upcoming Buy Local, Give Local Week.

From Sept.12-20, participating businesses in several business districts will donate a portion of their proceeds to various local charities. Downtown Santa Monica is supporting the Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF).

Established in 1982, SMMEF’s mission is to engage the community to invest in a vibrant educational experience for all students in the Santa Monica and Malibu public schools, according to a Buy Local press release.

The nonprofit provides financial support for academic and arts programs, instructional assistants and other programs for SMMUSD students. Funding during Buy Local, Give Local Week will be used to purchase new textbooks and fund teachers and afterschool programs.

For participating businesses, supporting neighborhood establishments strengthens the bond between commerce and community.

“As small business owners ourselves, we know how hard the local businesses are working to provide unique services to us,” said Kayla Allen, co-owner of Pure Barre, “We want to support that.”

Local store owners said customers that shop locally can get unique services, such as in-person consultations or free samples based on their interactions with the actual business owners.

“We really like for people to come in as opposed to buying online,” said Allison Marks, manager of ARCONA Studio spa. “When someone comes in, we can spend time with them and give them the right products.”

For some merchants, buying locally is representative of a proud, longstanding relationship between their business and the city of Santa Monica. Edward “Eddie” Guerboian has operated Readers Fine Jewelers since he acquired it almost 40 years ago.

“We give locally and buy locally to keep the money in the city. It’s one of my beliefs,” said Guerboian, who has donated door prizes and auction items to support schools, churches, and other organizations. “When customers support local merchants like me, it gives me the opportunity to give back to the community,” he said.

Local businesses view Buy Local, Give Local Week as an opportunity to show thanks to the Santa Monica neighborhood. “We really love the Santa Monica community,” said Marks. “We wanted to take the opportunity to give back to the community that we’ve been a part of for so long.”

John Cassese has been Santa Monica’s “Dance Doctor” for almost three decades and Oct. 1 will mark his studio’s 18th year at the downtown location. “I’ve been in Santa Monica for so many years and Santa Monica has been so close to my heart … I feel that it’s necessary to give back to the community,” said Cassese, “We need to support our local business that has merchandise and services to offer in our own backyard.”

With the 2015 Buy Local, Give Local Week, downtown businesses continue a longstanding collaboration between the city’s business and education interests. “Education is one of the most important investments into our society,” said Cassese, “the more education they have, the better our country will be.”

Businesses said donating to education is a way to support future Santa Monicans and help maintain the kinds of services that Santa Monicans want.

“It’s important because we support our local schools,” said Guerboian, “I believe our local schools need local support to maintain their standard of education.”

Participating Downtown Santa Monica businesses include:

ARCONA Studio – 425 Broadway, Suite B

Donating 5 percent of their sales proceeds.

John Cassese The Dance Doctor -1440 Fourth Street

Offering a ballroom dancing class on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. for $20/person. 50 percent of the proceeds will go to the SMMEF ($10 donation) for everyone who mentions “Buy Local for our Schools.”

Pure Barre Santa Monica – 201 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 120

A donation only PURE BARRE class on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 11:15 a.m. All proceeds to be donated to the SMMEF. Light refreshments to follow. Will also be accepting SMMEF donations throughout the week. Please come 10-15 minutes before your first class begins to meet your teacher and get properly set up. Call, email, or sign-up online., (310) 395-3927,

Readers Fine Jewelers – 331 Wilshire Boulevard

Donating 5 percent of their sales proceeds.

Santa Monica Travel + Tourism Visitor Information Kiosk – 1400 Ocean Avenue

Donating 5 percent of their sales proceeds.

Santa Monica Travel + Tourism Visitor Information Cart – 1300 Block of Third Street Promenade

Donating 5 percent of their sales proceeds.

SyncFab – 1450 Second Street, Suite 254

Hosting a fee-based Product Design & Local Production Sourcing Discussion Session on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. and donating the proceeds to SMMEF. The event will focus on product design ideas that represent Santa Monica Culture. For more info and to register vist

Yogurtland Santa Monica – 304 Santa Monica Blvd.

We’re happy to host a fundraising event on Tuesday, Sept. 15th from 3 p.m.- 7 p.m. in support of SMMEF during Buy Local, Give Local Week! We will donate 20 percent of our sales proceeds from this event to the SMMEF (Please download this flyer and give to the cashier or show it on your smartphone).

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