The Santa Monica Buy Local organization is developing some fun activities to help residents support local businesses. Courtesy image.

The past six months of the pandemic have hit everyone hard, especially small business owners. Fortunately, there are two fun new competitions that will let Santa Monicans kick back and treat themselves while also supporting local businesses. The City’s Buy Local campaign is running weekly giveaways on the Santa Monica Instagram and will launch a local business scavenger hunt on Oct. 1 with a prize of $1000 in goodies from participating businesses.

The scavenger hunt is the brainchild of Monzerrat Brunkhorst, who owns Cafe de Mundo on 15th St. and Broadway. Brunkhorst opened her cafe in December and barely had any time to gather a local following before the City went into lockdown. The scavenger hunt is her creative solution to help residents discover new local gems, support businesses, and host an event that doesn’t require crowds gathering.

Between Oct. 1 and 14, participants will be given a punch card and encouraged to visit 10 out of 12 participating businesses where they will get one stamp per purchase. The first ten people to complete the hunt will receive a gift and all participants will be entered in a raffle to win $1000 in goodies from the businesses.

“COVID has affected everyone in the small business community and my business is super new; we just opened in December. I started thinking about something we can all do as a community to support each other and I thought a scavenger hunt is the best way of doing it because you can spread people out through several days and all of us can support each other by sharing customers. We are encouraging the community to have fun with it and go out and explore new places,” said Brunkhorst.

Each of the 12 participating businesses represent different industries and include: Cafe de Mundo, Co-Opportunity, Lanea Cocktail and Taco Bar, Socalo, Beach Yoga, Broadway Baker, Fig, Limonia, Frankies on the Park, Charleston Shoe Co, Accents Jewelry, and Cycle Bar.

“Buy Local Santa Monica has always been super supportive of us since we opened, so I reached out to Jennifer Taylor (founder of Buy Local) to see if they would be interested,” said Brunkhorst. “She loved the idea and I was happy because I don’t mind coordinating the event, but I couldn’t have the reach that she has with the newsletter and knowing all the other business owners.”

Buy Local is also hosting giveaways on the Santa Monica Instagram page every Wednesday for the next two months where people can win a $100 gift card from a highlighted business each week. To enter the giveaway you must share a picture of yourself shopping or dining, visiting a local hotel or a salon, or making a purchase from a local business and use the hashtags #BuyLocalSM and #SantaMonicaShines.

“The prize is a nicely packaged box that includes Santa Monica Shines branded items along with a gift certificate to a local business of the week. The business that is highlighted will change each week and will cover each of Santa Monica’s 8 great neighborhoods,” said Misti Kerns, President and CEO, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism. “When you buy local everyone benefits, so we’re encouraging shoppers to show how you are helping our community recover.”