Jim Choura has lived in Long Beach all of his life. He attended Lakewood High before attending LBCC from 66-69, transferring to CSULB to study economics. “LBCC was the institution of my generation.” This LBCC Hall of Famer (2012) has always worked hard in his profession and found ways to make our community a better place.
Jim comes from a family of butchers and started Galley Catering in his last year of college. From there the business grew until his good friend Don Temple offered him a long term-lease on what was then the Elks Club. The Grand was born in the early ‘90s and has continued to be a gathering place for the Long Beach community over the past 30 years.
Weddings, fundraisers, and celebrations of all kinds, we have all attended an event at the Grand. Then the pandemic came and changed the way that we do everything. As Jim describes it, “things went from one hundred miles per hour to zero in one day.” Everyone was blindsided, but Jim had an organization of amazing people with character and leadership skills who were ready to take on the challenge. Thanks to wording in the business license he filed for in the 1990’s the Grand is classified as a restaurant rather than a banquet center. Just a couple of weeks after the pandemic hit they were able to transition to a web-based ordering system that allowed the community to order everything from prepared meals to flour. They even have rolls of toilet paper available! As the pandemic continues Jim and his staff work hard to find new ways to hold events that are safe. Roofs, parking structures, everything is on the table for these entrepreneurs who continue to find ways to thrive in this environment.
Jim knows that he is blessed to have an amazing staff and the trust of his customers who continue to keep his business running. It is with that spirit of gratitude that The Grand has found multiple ways to help the community in this time of great need. They have been providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner to 200 people in need per day. In addition, Jim has been acting as a facilitator for the distribution of food that would otherwise go to waste. Using a donated truck from Shamrock Foods he is redistributing food that would normally be going to schools and the military and redistributing to organizations that are helping those who are experiencing food insecurity in this difficult time. “If we can all pitch in, we can get through this“, says Jim. He and his staff are optimists and are focused on finding the silver lining in this era of unprecedented challenges. The LBCC Foundation is proud is grateful to have Jim and his generous spirit as a member of our Foundation Board of Governors. Thank you for all that you do!