A live music venue has been nominated for an award recognising the best small businesses in London.
The Luna Lounge in Church Road, Leytonstone, is up against five other contenders in the ‘best place to drink’ category of the prestigious London Small Business Awards.
Co-owner Suja Khaled opened Luna Lounge in 2004, and it initially doubled as a restaurant serving hot curries. Since it began concentrating solely on live music and entertainment five years ago, the venue has taken off.
“I think it has grown through word of mouth more than anything else,” Suja told the Echo. “We have a lot of customers who repeatedly come back.”
The independent venue now has a reputation as one of the best places for live music in the borough, with 500 acts performing there last year. Musicians come form all over the world and styles include jazz, folk, blues and rock. A busy events calendar also features comedy, open mic, art exhibitions and a film club.
Luna Lounge is also known for its wide range of tipples, from cocktails to beer. Among the ales served on tap is Walthamstow’s Wild Card Brewery.
Today Suja runs the business alongside his partner Erika Coutnobaite. He added: “As a couple we form personal relationships with our customers. We have old fashioned values.”
Public voting is now open for the London Small Business Awards, which will be presented in January.
Judges, headed by entrepreneur and star of BBC television’s Dragon’s Den, Sarah Wilingham, narrowed down a list of hundreds of entries to cover the competition’s 12 categories, recognising a range of industries, from creative agencies to social enterprises.
Sarah said: “The ingenuity of these small businesses, their drive and ambition to succeed, has been inspirational. It was really tough for us to choose our shortlists.”
The winners of each category will receive £1,000, plus one-to-one mentorship on how to improve their online business presence.
According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics, London has the highest concentration of small businesses in the UK with over 436,210 registered this year, 43,600 more than 2014, making up 98 percent of all firms registered in the capital.
Public voting for the London Small Business Awards will close at 5pm on 8th January 2016 and the winners will be announced on 21st January.
For more information on the awards and to vote:
For more information on Luna Lounge: