Certified Sustainable Business: Pines Motel

Pines Motel is now a Certified Sustainable Business at the Conservationist/Bronze level.

Anna May Cory and Bob Uveges have a gift for hospitality. After running several successful businesses around the country, they bought the Pines Motel in 2001 and have been happily serving Cottonwood visitors ever since. Family members Martha and Cory Bruening manage day-to-day operations, and the family-focused atmosphere has earned the Certificate of Excellence and 4.5 stars from TripAdvisor.

The Pines has a longstanding commitment to sustainability. They created an Environmental Policy in 2010, and in 2011 earned the AZ Lodging and Tourism Association’s “Certified Green” designation. According to Anna May Cory, they chose to pursue the Sustainability Alliance Sustainable Business Certification because “we always want to learn more ways to improve, and this is part of our commitment to sustainability in the Verde Valley.”

Over time, the Pines team has implemented many sustainability improvements. For example, the dishwasher is certified for high-temperature sanitizing so no chemical disinfectant is needed. Most lights are LED, and others are compact fluorescent being changed to LED as they burn out. There are both Tesla and standard EV charging stations onsite, and the whole property is Dark Sky Compliant.

Sustainability also shapes the customer experience. Guests are provided mugs instead of disposable cups in their rooms, and notepads are made from unused flyers to conserve paper. The Pines is partnering with Friends of the Verde River on a pilot program to encourage guest towel reuse, and they are converting their cleaning products to nontoxic, EPA Safer Choice certified selections. And of course all guest rooms are non-smoking.

Housekeeping is the backbone of any lodging business. Operations manager Martha Bruening ensures all staff understand the sustainability commitment and expects them to take steps such as turning off lights and in-room air conditioning after cleaning. Bruening also encourages team members to personally care about the site and actively participate in making it excellent. She tells the story of a housekeeper who decided on her own to hang a hummingbird feeder as a welcoming touch and another who volunteered to do extra patio sweeping: “I love the type of team member who takes initiative.”

The Pines Environmental Policy sums up their commitment: “We strongly believe that our efforts to support a healthy environment serve the interests of both current and future generations and constitute the foundation for enduring success.”

Darcy Hitchcock, Sustainability Alliance,
darcy@sustainabilityallianceaz.org 928-554-5171