Mark Mayes, owner of Monte Carlo Cleaners, decided nine years ago to institute a policy of refusing to accept items made of leather, fur and angora rabbit wool.
“I don’t believe in killing animals to make yourself look better,” Mayes said.
In May, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, waiting in line at Mayes’ Scottsdale store, watched as Mayes turned away a customer who wanted her fur coat cleaned.
“The customer asked why I didn’t accept fur and I told her my views,” Mayes said.
Eventually, the incident led to Mayes winning what PETA calls its “Compassionate Business” award, marking the first time the organization has given the honor to a dry cleaners owner.
PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich said by setting a strict policy against cleaning garments made from animals, Mayes “is proving that commerce and compassion can go handin-hand.”
And Mayes said he does not mind the potential loss of revenue associated with not cleaning fur, which can be extremely lucrative.
“I’m not going to sacrifice my morals just to make extra money,” Mayes said.
Mayes framed his certificate and letter of appreciation from PETA and hung it on the wall of his north Scottsdale shop. Monte Carlo Cleaners has another store, located in Mesa, that has the same policy.
“I am proud of the award because it shows we are an animal-friendly store,” Mayes said. “And I am a pretty big animal lover.”