Time is running out to vote for your most-loved business.

Voting for the annual Most Loved contest runs through Feb. 29 and organizers are encouraging everyone to log their votes to guarantee their favorite local businesses receive the recognition they deserve.

To vote, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MostLovedSM and write in a business in each of the 26 categories. Students at Santa Monica High School gather the results in their statistics class and the winners are announced in April at an awards ceremony at City Hall. Winners and runners-up are featured in the annual Most Loved magazine produced by The Santa Monica Daily Press.

The contest was created by Buy Local Santa Monica in partnership with multiple local partners.

“The contest is a really about raising awareness of the businesses we have in Santa Monica,” said Jennifer Taylor, Buy Local SM Committee Chair. “It’s a way to celebrate the importance of businesses in the community and I think from the business perspective, it’s and exciting thing for them to feel the love and customer appreciation.”

Mayor Pro Tempore Ted Winterer said local businesses are an important foundation of the community.

“Our local economy is robustly healthy and our businesses play an important role in our community, contributing jobs, goods, services, the majority of our tax revenues and in many cases philanthropic endeavors to assist those in need in our town and to improve our quality of life,” he said. “Sixty-five percent of general-fund revenues are generated by local businesses and those monies are used for services to residents such as police, fire, libraries, parks and street paving. In addition, since the voters passed Measures Y and YY in 2010 a quarter percent of local sales tax revenue has been allocated to the school district, yielding over $7M annually in sorely needed K-12 public education funding. Consequently, every time residents shop locally they are helping our city to thrive.”

Taylor said everyone who votes and provides an email address is entered to win a raffle prize, but just as importantly, voters are contributing to the success of the businesses they love.

“I think it’s fun. A lot of people really like the idea of sharing information, they love to share the love with business, they are their favorite businesses in town and a lot of people look forward to the results as well,” she said. “It’s turned into valuable resource year-round, people keep and refer to. It becomes a checklist for shopping around town. It’s also great because it appeals to the locals and visitors alike; the tourists want to go where the locals go.”

To view last year’s results, visit www.BuyLocalSM.com/most-loved. For more information on the Buy Local Santa Monica campaign, visit www.BuyLocalSM.com.

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...