The winner of the PNC LGBT Business Award was announced Monday at the 2015 Independence Business Alliance Leaders Luncheon.
Stir Lounge, owned by Holly Johnson and Stacey Vey, received the $10,000 cash award to support their plan to grow the Rittenhouse establishment. Stir is the first female-owned LGBT business to win the award and the first to receive the award since it increased from $5,000.
“We were completely surprised,” Johnson told PGN about their selection. “We only applied a few weeks ago after the encouragement of some friends, but I had been so busy with my 2-and-a-half year-old twins. But we just went for it!”
Johnson said they plan to use the money to expand their kitchen and begin offering food at Stir.
“We have a kitchen now, but it’s pretty small and we do not offer food,” Johnson said. “We want to add another layer of service for our guests. So we need to get some of the larger appliances and equipment.”
While a menu has not been designed yet, Johnson is thinking inexpensive small plates.
“Maybe something along the lines of homemade potato chips with a from-scratch dipping sauce, paninis, pizzas,” Johnson explained. “We’re not going to be a restaurant, but we want something that will match the concept we having going on at the lounge.”
Johnson said the application process was not challenging, and encouraged other businesses to apply next year.
“I would tell anyone to apply, because you never know,” Johnson said. “I would also recommend that interested businesses attend the PNC workshop, which is held about a month in advance of the award.”
Johnson said they planned to hold a celebratory party at the bar soon.