Poutine Bear food truck a way for owner to give back to Regina community

Shelbi-Dawn Pelletier says her Rollin' Poutine Bear truck is about more than food. It's a way for her to give back to the community that took care of her after her parents died when she was young.

'I just want to see people happy,' says owner, Shelbi-Dawn Pelletier

Shelbi-Dawn Pelletier says, 'Life can be tough, so if you can have a good meal and be happy for a little bit, hey, that's right on.' (Nichole Huck/CBC )

On double toonie Tuesdays, the lineup is long at the Rollin' Poutine Bear on Albert Street in Regina. For less than $5 you can get a bannock burger with fries and macaroni salad. 

The food truck is a labour of love.

"I never plan to be a millionaire. I just want to see happy people," said owner Shelbi-Dawn Pelletier. 

Pelletier has always wanted to run her own business, but it wasn't until a few years ago that she thought a food truck might be the way to go. 

She said she sneaked into the Exhibition and got a job working with some of the food vendors. There, she realized the power of poutine. 

Natalie Dubois is employed by Pelletier as the bannock maker. On Tuesdays, bannock burgers are a popular item. (Nichole Huck/CBC )

Pelletier connected with several organizations to help with her dream. Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation and the Ochapowace First Nation have helped with capital costs and support for the food truck. 

I chose to be a conqueror.- Shelbi-Dawn Pelletier, food truck owner

She started by feeding the crowds on the powwow circuit, then moved to some land near Pilot Butte, Sask., owned by Ochapowace.

Finally, the Poutine Bear migrated to an empty lot in North Central Regina owned by Cowessess First Nation. Pelletier said this new location enables her to give back to a community that cared for her when she needed it most. 

Local musician Erroll Kinistino often sets up his guitar and amp to play for customers at the Rollin' Bear Poutine Truck on urban land owned by Cowessess First Nation. (Nichole Huck/CBC )

"I was orphaned young and the people in the hood became a parent to me, too. ... I had a horrific childhood but if I can be inspiring to others, that's what I wish to be," said Pelletier. "Some of us can be victims for the rest of our lives and I chose not to be a victim. I chose to be a conqueror."

Part of being an inspiration is modelling hard work and entrepreneurship. Pelletier and her husband work in the truck from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Pelletier likens her business to having a newborn: "You have to sit up long hours, and that we are. We want to be successful."

Success for Pelletier is not just measured in money; it's measured in the joy she brings her customers. 

"It's awesome to see people smiling and laughing. Life can be tough, so if you can have a good meal and be happy for a little bit, hey, that's right on."

Pelletier said she has a lot of customers who don't want to see the Poutine Bear hibernate, so she is looking for a commercial kitchen to set up shop inside for the winter.