Entrepreneur talks Colorado small business, political change, and the ups and downs of owning your own business.
Name: Jim Noon
Business: Centennial Container Inc.
Jim Noon started Centennial Container Inc. with his wife in 1985 after realizing he wanted the freedom and responsibility of running his own business. Noon talks about the small business environment in Colorado and what it’s like to take a stab at political change.
Tell me about Centennial Container.
We provide packaging supplies for wholesalers. Our niche is we use obsolete materials and boxes and repurpose them for wholesale shipping. You can choose from hundreds of sizes of overruns at half price. It’s perfect for wholesalers who just need to ship their stuff and don’t care too much about the details of the box.
We are now also a full-line recycling company for material like cardboard, paper and Styrofoam. We can take a tractor-trailer worth of Styrofoam, and by the time we get done with it, you can put it in a single pallet.
How is Colorado as a home for small business?
It’s getting worse and worse. It’s not a place that is very friendly to the small distribution facilities that make up my customers. Personal property taxes and a regulatory environment that’s not friendly to this type of business have made it difficult for the smaller guys, and the cities have not been friendly to the warehouse kind of setting.
What could Colorado do better?
That’s a long list. The business personal property tax is one. As a general tax state, we’re not horrible, but there are other regulatory environments that are unfriendly. The single biggest threat to our company is the legalization of marijuana. It is horrible for small business, because it has caused a huge increase in warehouse rental prices.
Why did you get involved with NFIB?
For me it’s about being more politically active and advocating for small business. I find it interesting to take a stab at political change, trying to affect the fine print of the laws so they don’t have unintended consequences for small business. NFIB and I are on the same page for a lot of things. I’ve been a member for 25 years and served on the leadership council.
What’s the best part of owning your own business?
I like to be able to turn directions on a dime and not have to convince someone else to do it. In my particular line of work, it’s nice making deals with companies to take their boxes. They feel good because their boxes aren’t going into a landfill, and we’re helping the earth at the same time.
What has surprised you about running your own business?
It’s a whole lot more work. You always hear the saying “business owners are sunup to sundown,” and it’s true. The other part that’s struck me is it’s kind of lonely at times.