Small Business Spotlight: Grand Dental Center

This Small Business Spotlight features Grand Dental Center, a locally-owned dental practice with offices in Grand Rapids. Led by Dr. Lisa Johnson and Dr. Leanna McBride, the team at Grand Dental strives to promote long-term dental health and build a safe, trustworthy environment for patients.

Their support of United Way is not the only way the dental duo gets involved – Leanna provides guidance and leadership in her role on United Way’s Board of Directors, and Lisa has donated her services to children and adults who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford dental care. Both make it a priority to stay on top of new research in their field through membership in various professional associations. Here, the two share their approach to running a rural dental practice and discuss how investing in communities provides an opportunity for business owners to give back to their supporters.

Tell us about your business. What is your business philosophy?
Grand Dental Center was established by Dr. Lisa Johnson in 2007 and we have been practicing out of the current location on Golf Course Road since 2010. Dr. Leanna McBride joined the practice in 2015. Our goal is to develop lasting relationships with our staff and our patients and to provide dentistry in a setting that isn’t intimidating. We want our patients to feel comfortable and involved in their care decisions.

What is unique about owning and operating a small business in the Itasca area?
Leanna: We have a very supportive community that wants to see small businesses succeed. Particularly in the field of dentistry, I feel a lot of camaraderie and support from my fellow colleagues rather than competition. The people here are supportive of each other.

Lisa: Owning a business in a smaller community fosters the development of relationships. We see patients not only in the office, but at restaurants, local shops, and area events. That doesn’t always happen in a metro area.

What advice would you give to other companies looking to get involved in the community?
Lisa: DO IT! Getting involved not only provides a perfect way to meet fellow community members and form relationships, it also helps you promote your business, and it is a great way to give back (or pay it forward) to those who help your business find success. We depend on our local residents to support our business so it is equally important to support our community and its members.

Leanna: As a young business owner, being involved in community events and nonprofits has afforded me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people who have become my mentors. I have found that people are happy to help and share their experiences and I don’t think there is much more valuable insight than from those who have walked in your shoes, in your own community!

Why are you passionate about your commitment to United Way’s Community Investment Fund?
Leanna: United Way of 1000 Lakes has a pulse on our community’s specific needs. There is no “one-size-fits-all” recipe for a community’s success. Each community is different, and United Way tailors support where the need is greatest!

Lisa: I like the idea that the money United Way raises is used for local entities and causes. By supporting United Way, we are supporting our own community.

What is something interesting or surprising that most people don’t know about you?
Lisa: I sang as a part of a quartet on a cruise ship in the summer after I graduated from college!

Leanna: I went skydiving with my husband in 2011 and lived to tell the tale!

What would your older self tell your younger self?
Leanna: You don’t have to have it all figured out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Lisa: Be true to yourself, don’t sweat the small stuff, and always trust your “gut instincts.”

Is there a quote or saying that guides or inspires you?
Lisa: Be the bigger person.

Leanna: Don’t sweat the small stuff, life is short!

Our Small Business Spotlight series highlights locally-owned small businesses that support United Way’s work in the community through Small Business 365+ membership. Visit to learn more about how your company can support United Way through sponsorships, workplace giving programs, and more.