Norman’s Grill Owner Joins Chamber of Commerce

Yousuf Fahimuddin,
Politics Editor

The Castro Valley and Eden Area Chamber of Commerce met last Thursday to discuss its goals for the future, and addressed allegations that the chamber had been mishandling grants given by the county.

The chamber celebrated the successes of events that were held throughout year, and outlined plans for upcoming events. In November, Castro Valley will celebrate the second annual Parade of Lights. Last year’s event in honor of the completion of renovations to the downtown area was a great success, said David Wilhite, the president of the chamber.

Wilhite is the owner of Intero Real Estate Services in Castro Valley. He presented the speech to an audience slightly smaller than what has been present in previous years, due to the event’s proximity to the Memorial Day weekend.

After discussing the chamber’s successes, Wilhite laid out their goals for upcoming year. The chamber aims to invite 60 new business owners by Sept. 30, 2013, he said. He touched upon concerns that the chamber had not lived up to its contract with the county, an allegation leveled against it by the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Committee in February, and vowed that the chamber would meet its promises to the county.

“It is our goal to become marginally dependent on Alameda County contract for services by Sept. 30, 2014. We have a working board of directors [and] a lot of progress is being made,” he said.

Additional fundraising events to raise revenue for the chamber will also be held throughout the year.

Booth sales for this year’s 41st Annual Fall Festival in September are ahead compared to previous years, Wilhite said, which puts the festival on target to be the most successful in the event’s history. He encouraged business owners to contact the chamber to find out ways to sponsor the event.

“We’re always open to your suggestions and your ideas. We are here to help small businesses strive, and to ensure our community thrives and prospers,” said Wilhite.

In the audience was a new member to the Chamber of Commerce, Norman Pours. Wilhite invited Pours to introduce himself to the rest of the chamber. His restaurant was well received by the other business owners.

Pours is the owner of Norman’s Grill, a breakfast and lunch establishment that has been in Castro Valley for close to two years. Pours’s history as an entrepreneur and restaurant owner takes him back 45 years to his first job as a busboy in San Leandro.

“I started with the dishes, but then I ended up managing the place for many years. Then I opened my first restaurant, and I opened four more after that,” Pours said.

Like many young men, Pours traveled to America from Iran under the funding of Shah Reza Pahlavi to get a college education. He jumped from school to school until he settled on San Jose State University and earned his degree in aeronautics.

“Everything has its own pleasures, every job you do, every field that you choose. I don’t think it’s the fields that make us happy or unhappy. It’s the angle that we look at it,” said Pours. “I have enjoyed flying, I have enjoyed studying, I have enjoyed being in the restaurants, and just about everything that I have done.”

Now, four restaurants later, Pours has decided that Norman’s Grill will be his last business venture before he retires.