Originally from Gatineau, Quebec, Elie Hanna moved to Kamloops in 2008 to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Thompson Rivers University. He had never been to Kamloops but, Eli “…decided to google Kamloops right before I left and was so excited for the mountains and scenery. I hopped on a bus for four days and it was the best decision I ever made.”
Elie noticed that his friends loved poutine, but there were no sole poutineries serving authentic meals of fries, cheese curds, and gravy- a Canadian staple. He adds, “I worked at a poutinerie back in Quebec and there are tiny little poutine shacks everywhere. Nothing like this existed in Kamloops so I thought, “why not?”.
In October 2016, Elie hired two employees and opened Frenchies Poutinerie at 104-340 Victoria Street. With rotating poutines on the menu, Frenchie’s gained popularity immediately from opening to closing hours. Elie admits, “It’s my favorite part, to be able to create new poutines and watch my customers enjoy them. It’s super cool to hear the feedback directly from people you see on the street everyday!” By the Summer 2017, Elie’s staff grew to 11 to keep up with catering special events, weddings, and serving up the Downtown Kamloops community.
When the 2017 wildfires engulfed BC’s Interior, Elie and his team assisted the region in a handful of ways. The Frenchie’s Poutinerie staff volunteered their time and labour with the SPCA at Riverside Park to assist families who fled the fires with their pets. Further, Elie donated over $4,500 worth of poutine and drinks to BC fire evacuees. Since then, Elie has stepped up as a leader in the Kamloops community for the less fortunate. Over 50 people living with homelessness were given free Christmas dinners in 2017. In 2018, the poutinerie started a “Pay-It-Forward” system where customers can buy a meal for themselves and a future meal for someone less fortunate.
Elie humbly states, “There’s a lot of hate in the world, I might as well spread a bit of love. It is who I am as a person. My business represents me. I strongly believe if my business is doing well then I should share some of the wealth with others. If I can keep a roof over my head and food on my table and can survive like everyone else, I might as well give a helping hand to others. It’s how I’ve been brought up.”
Elie’s work ethic has been recognized throughout the community. In early 2018, Elie was nominated for two different awards, the “Giving Back-Social Stewardship Kudoward” by the Kamloops Central BIA, as well as “Food & Beverage Front of House of the Year Award” by Tourism Kamloops.
It is evident that under Elie’s leadership, the entire staff go above and beyond on a daily basis to connect with the entire community. Frenchie’s Poutinerie is a unique and delicious addition that we’re proud to have in Downtown Kamloops!