DENCAP Dental Plans started in 1984 by Joe Lentine Sr. on the corner of Mack and St. Antoine in Detroit, MI. Joe Sr. had seen the plight of Detroit during its challenging times. People and dentists alike were migrating to the suburbs where money and opportunity existed. With the help of a smart and connected dentist by the name of Dr. Fred Cuthrell, Joe Sr. began his 50/50 partnership to form the DENCAP Company with the vision of serving members, dentists and employers with cost effective, quality and personalized dental plans in the City of Detroit.
Personally, Joe Sr. sacrificed much 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 and 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 which then allowed 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 its customers and dentists’. DENCAP eventually hired a small staff that held for many years as there was very little turnover in employment. The company remained steady financially and the network of dentists and its population of members grew rapidly.
This growth brought DENCAP to its current location at 45 East Milwaukee in Detroit. The building held a lot of history in Detroit as it used to house the Tarnow Electric business. A remodel took place, and it became the DENCAP Dental Plans home.
With the renovation, he also created a space to house a non-profit called “Books for Kids”, which he established with the help of the Detroit Kiwanis #1 Club. Joe Sr. believes strongly that if you can read, you can work. This non-profit 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, then acquired the company with Joe Sr. actively involved as a Board Member.
Joe Jr., with a wealth of business expertise and brilliance, continued to expand and grow the business. Much credit is due to the foundation Joe Sr. laid. His son adopted the principles of maintaining an excellent reputation in the community, committing to solid business practices and upholding strong ethics which brought DENCAP from a small local network to one that has expanded across Southeastern Michigan.
Combined with a strong foundation, a team of spirited employees and strong dental health focus, DENCAP Dental Plans is poised for continued growth.