Daily Press Editor
Voting is now open in the annual Most Loved contest to choose the city’s favorite businesses.
During the month of February, businesses will compete in 34 categories as part of the seventh iteration of the contest. Voters can vote in one or all of the categories but individuals that cast a vote in at least 15 categories will be entered to win a Most Loved Raffle Prize.
The contest began in 2014 as a partnership between Santa Monica’s Buy Local Committee, the Daily Press, the City of Santa Monica and several business districts to encourage local shopping while rewarding businesses that have put down roots in the community.
Officials said locally operated businesses help return money to the community through sales and use tax revenue, business license taxes and transit occupancy taxes that pays for essential local services including police, fire, parks and libraries.
Jennifer Taylor, Buy Local SM Committee Chair and Economic Development Administrator with the City of Santa Monica said businesses earn their loyal customer base by offering great service, quality merchandise and services people want. She said the contest is a way to publicly recognize those traits in local businesses while also reminding shoppers of the local businesses they may not know about and giving visitors the inside scoop.
“The visitors to Santa Monica want to go where the locals go, and what better guide than the Most Loved Santa Monica publication and website,” she said. “We all want to try the Most Loved Happy Hour place or visit the Most Loved SM Farmers Market vendor to see what makes them so special. Most Loved SM brings attention to our local business community and celebrates what makes our community special.”
The contest has evolved with the city. New categories for this year’s event include Most Loved Outdoor Dining Spot, Most Loved Event/Party Venue and Most Loved Bakery.
Winners are recognized in the Most Loved magazine, with plaques and at a ceremony at City Hall.
“The Most Loved Santa Monica Awards Ceremony is held at City Hall where the winners are announced and formally recognized,” said Taylor. “It’s a true partnership of the city and local business community. For me, this event is also about showing our businesses how much the City of Santa Monica (Mayor and Council, our city staff) and local leaders value them and the contributions that they collectively bring to making Santa Monica a special, vibrant place to live, work and play.”
Voting is open through Feb. 29.