Joe Sr. personally made considerable sacrifices to stay in the City to realize his vision. In doing so, he secured his first contract to provide dental coverage for City of Detroit employees.
The dental network that started DENCAP was a small group of dentists who agreed to serve the members at reduced fees for a monthly payment, the ‘capitation’ model. It was the trust and loyalty of these first dentists, who agreed to be in the DENCAP network and serve the Detroit population, that gave DENCAP its start.
Not long after the inception of the business, Dr. Fred Cuthrell fell ill; eventually, Joe Sr. moved to a building on Baltimore and Second in Detroit’s New Center Area and acquired 100% ownership of DENCAP Dental Plans. He began to sell plans to small businesses and individuals who needed dental care at affordable costs, allowing him to employ more people.
Joe Sr. had a philosophy about the people he employed. He believed that ‘diversity was a strength’ and ‘it didn’t matter where you were from or what religion you were, it was about whether you could do the job and serve the customers and dentists.’ DENCAP hired a small staff that remained loyal for many years, and the company stayed financially secure as the network of dentists and its population of members rapidly grew.
This growth brought DENCAP to its current location at 45 East Milwaukee in Detroit. Holding a historic place in Detroit history, the building once housed the Tarnow Electric business. A remodel followed , and it became the DENCAP Dental Plans home.
As part of the renovation, Joe Sr. created a space to house a nonprofit called “Books for Kids,” which he established with the help of the Detroit Kiwanis #1 Club. Joe Sr. strongly believes that if you can read, you can work. This nonprofit collects over-runs from publishers and used book donations and distributes them throughout Detroit to school-aged children. To date, 1.5 million books have been given away.
Joe Sr. has a heart for charity; in 2006 he lent his business expertise as a volunteer for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s as the Chief Financial Officer. It was at that time that his son, Joe Lentine Jr., a former General Motors Executive, acquired the company with Joe Sr. actively involved as a board member.
Applying his wealth of business knowledge and innate leadership abilities , Joe Jr. continued to expand the business from the strong foundation laid by Joe Sr. Today, he continues to follow the DENCAP principles of maintaining an excellent reputation in the community, committing to solid business practices and upholding strong ethics, all of which have propelled DENCAP from a small local network to one that has expanded across Southeastern Michigan.
With the 2023 purchase of Golden Dental Plans, a team of spirited employees and strong dental health focus, DENCAP Dental Plans is poised for a bright future and continued growth.