Contest: The annual contest is a chance to recognize local businesses. SMDP Image

Santa Monica’s annual celebration of local businesses officially opens today with the start of the Ninth Annual Most Loved Contest.

The contest began in 2014 as a partnership between Buy Local Santa Monica Committee, the Santa Monica Daily Press, the City of Santa Monica, four business improvement districts including Main Street, Montana Avenue, Pico Boulevard and Downtown Santa Monica Inc., as well as the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Santa Monica Travel and Tourism and Santa Monica Pier Corporation. The contest has evolved over time and there have been several category expansions over the years to a total of 66 this year.

“We are excited to announce the launch of the Most Loved Santa Monica businesses contest of 2022 with the SM Daily Press and our Buy Local SM partners,” said Economic Development Manager Jennifer Taylor. “This annual contest is one of the most important ways that the City, our residents and local business community can come together to celebrate our Santa Monica businesses. Please take a moment, starting on Feb. 10th, to nominate your favorite Santa Monica businesses – from your most loved coffee bar to your favorite outdoor dining spot, bike shop and hair stylist. As COVID pandemic continues, our businesses are struggling to survive so a simple gesture like nominating them as a Most Loved SM Business can help give them a moral boost to show we’re all behind them. And thank you for buying local in support of our businesses and community.”

Voting will be held in two phases. The first is a nomination period open from Feb. 10 – 28. At the end of the first phase, the top five businesses will advance to the finals for a runoff with final voting to occur between March 14-31.

All voting for the contest will occur at