Drew and Joya Lyons can add “landing a partnership deal with an NBA team” to their list of goals accomplished in 2021. Their Charlotte-based business, Smile Savvy Cosmetic Dentistry, signed on as a new dental partner of the Charlotte Hornets, the team announced Friday.
The seven-year-old practice is one of just a handful of local, small businesses to ink a partnership deal with the Hornets, a team spokesperson confirmed. And currently, the only one that is Black-owned.
“The vast majority of our partners are Coke, Lowe’s, Novant, huge corporations,” Josh Rosen, senior director of corporate communications, told QCity Metro. “It’s kind of interesting, honestly, to have a deal like this because it’s not something that we necessarily do a ton of.”
Though neither party commented on the figures, Rosen said that it is a multi-year partnership. As part of the deal, Smile Savvy will present a digital content series, the “Smile Savvy Smile Watch,” featuring candid photos of Hornets players, coaches, fans and staff. The dental practice also will be the presenting partner of the “Smile Cam” during select home games, and its branding will be included during birthday announcements displayed on the scoreboard during each Hornets home game.
Black Business Matters
Additionally, Smile Savvy and the Hornets will team up for a sweepstakes with two winners receiving a date night package that includes premium tickets, food and drinks and a behind-the-scenes pregame experience.
“As we mark Black Business Month in August, we are proud to enter this partnership with Drs. Drew and Joya Lyons and their Charlotte-based, Black-owned business, Smile Savvy Cosmetic Dentistry,” Hornets President and Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing them into our Hornets family and teaming with them to help share healthy smiles.”
The couple opened their family dental practice in 2014 and launched a charitable arm, The Lyons Share, in 2019. Each year, they gift smile makeovers to at least four people from an underserved community.
“As one of the few Black-owned businesses to partner with the Hornets, we’re just happy to break barriers while continuing to give back,” Joya said.
During the pandemic, they rebranded and switched to cosmetic dentistry — providing smile makeovers and veneers for adults. Smile Savvy is Charlotte’s only Black-owned cosmetic dentistry practice.
Drew says the pandemic helped people realize the value of a healthy smile as many prepared for job interviews and searched for other opportunities. He shared that they’re working to change the perception that cosmetic dentistry is only for the wealthy.
“Being more cosmetic, I know sometimes it seems vain. But what we’ve noticed is just being able to build one’s dignity helps tremendously with setting up the best version of your own life,” he said. “Most people think [cosmetic dentistry] isn’t attainable, but we make it possible for everyday people.”