California's High Cost of Living Is Pushing Really Right Stuff to Relocate, Big Plans Ahead

California's High Cost of Living Is Pushing Really Right Stuff to Relocate, Big Plans Ahead

High-end tripod and camera support company Really Right Stuff is moving their headquarters and manufacturing operations. They also have big plans coming up for the future.

In a press release, Really Right Stuff announced that the company would be moving from their current location in San Luis Obispo, California and settling down in Lehi, Utah. “We love beautiful San Luis Obispo, but our employees can’t afford to buy a home,” said CEO Joseph M. Johnson, Sr. “The business-friendly environment and low cost of living in Lehi, Utah made it a clear choice for us to best serve our customers and employees long-term.” He also said that most of their current employees would be moving to the new city as well, “keeping our RRS family largely intact.”

Besides the lower cost of living, the new building is also two-and-a-half times larger and will offer the company new product opportunities with a larger workforce. “The move comes with expansion on every level,” I was told by Assistant Product Manager Nathanael Brookshire, “More machines, more people, and more gear.”

At one time, the only way to purchase Really Right Stuff gear was through their website. However, a little over a year ago they had grown to the point where they could stock B&H Photo with their products as well.

Brookshire also mentioned that the company would be “significantly expanding” their manufacturing capability and will have the Utah location in operation before completely shutting down the California facilities. In turn, this should mean minimal interruption to customers.

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels.

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Clint K's picture

You are an idiot.

Deleted Account's picture

Don't be so PC about it

Mark Davidson's picture

Let's see. The left wants better schools, safer neighborhoods and better healthcare. In California we run a surplus in the budget and deliver more tax revenue to the Feds than any other state.
Revenue that is then distributed to Red states that cannot or will not fund their states at a level necessary for the welfare of their population.

Hardly the stuff of civilization's collapse.

BTW, it was the left that gave us labor laws that keep children out of sweatshops and mines. It was the left that gave us safe drinking water laws, it was the left that got us safe drug regulations. And so on.

Meanwhile Kansas staged a demonstration of trickle down economics that nearly bankrupted them.

Przemek Lodej's picture

California is ridiculously expensive to live in, sad but true. I got an offer a few weeks ago from Audi USA to work at their studio, for the time being on the outskirts of Los Angeles, but soon moving to Malibu. I was given a mere 3% increase over what I am earning at FCA in Auburn Hills, MI for a similar position, with 15 year s of experience. Cost of homes even away from Malibu are insane. I could never afford the type of home I currently own in MI if I moved to California. It boggles my mind how people actually live in that area. I am not one bit surprised that some businesses are moving to Utah.

Dave Snyder's picture

I feel a new tourism slogan coming. "Utah has the Really Right Stuff"

Casey ATKINS's picture

It's no wonder the housing in California is super expensive. Everywhere you look you'll find stories of cities and towns blocking housing developments and new apartment and condo buildings for years at a time, if they ever approve them at all. You can't just keep adding jobs to the market without building places for people to live. It's bad planning.

Ryan Daley's picture

So true. If the housing developments dont start in the high $800k, then they usually aren't getting built. I live outside of San Diego and you cannot even get a fixer upper for $400k, but they just broke ground on a new 500 home development. I shot the model homes and not one of them started under a million.

Casey ATKINS's picture

Unfortunately for the middle and lower class when supply can't meet the market's demand then it's the rich who get served first.

Matthew Saville's picture

Hate to say it, but yeah. Asia literally owns Los Angeles.

Casey ATKINS's picture

If this is widespread then why aren't our law makers doing anything to stop it? The housing shortage has reached a crisis point here in the Bay Area and people are getting squeezed out.

I've always heard rumors of foreign investors buying up houses and condos they never intend to live in and they never even rent out but do we have any idea what the real numbers are?

I've heard they do this in China too because of the building boom but they actually have a surplus of housing there because they've over built and they're probably in a big housing bubble from people over investing in useless condos where they've practically built entire empty cities.

Casey ATKINS's picture

Thanks for the link. I feel like it would be easier politically and legally to try and stop foreign investment buyers than stopping out of state buyers from buying property in their own country.

Hell, my wife and I have been thinking of buying a house in her hometown of Lincoln NE. We could afford to buy a craftsman bungalow near downtown Lincoln on the side while we live in CA. But we don't think we could buy a one million dollar or 900K house or condo here.

Although since her family lives there we'd actually use that house so that's probably not the same situation.

Matthew Saville's picture

I kept seeing those pictures of a zillion high-rise apartments in Hong Kong, so I actually Googled it. Allegedly, from what I can tell it's expensive to live in those things too. Something along the lines of $2-3K/month. The city is just that much bigger than LA / SF, that having an insane number of high rises is still not enough. Or, if they've over-built, they're doing a similar thing, they're manipulating the market. Who knows.

Either way, yeah, the culprit is the consolidation of ownership, and the complacency of voters who are just clueless as to how to go about changing things. Barely a peep about "crazy ideas" like limiting the size of a corporation owning residential property.

We're screwed.

Matthew Saville's picture

When the undisputed winner of "most-expensive camera support" decides to move out of the state because their employees can't afford to buy a house, know that what's going on in California is sheer insanity.

Unless Joe Johnson is taking all those profits from his rolex-of-the-tripod-world and just stuffing it in his pockets, which I doubt. I like to imagine that RRS pays their employees as well as they possibly can.

This state is out of control. Absolutely bonkers. The only thing being shouted louder than the cries for a frantic increase in affordable housing, the vitriolic scream of NIMBY-ism, and "quit whining and get a better job!"

Yes, there's a lot of beautiful landscapes here. But Utah has just as many, or more. Yeah, the weather is fantastic. But, as Robin Williams said, here in California, "we live on God's etch-a-sketch"...

When I was a younger adult, just starting to make it on my own and pay rent and stuff, I didn't know any better so I just thought this was the exact same situation, the same opportunity, that all previous generations had. Rent at 1/2 or more of your income.

Then, I actually started talking to my parents and grandparents, as well as my wife's, who had all grown up around California, including LA, SF, and the central valley. Boy was I wrong.

In fact, after WW2, one grandfather came home from the war and collected a pension (or whatever they called it) that was TEN TIMES his mortgage. And it was a modest figure, too.

Another grandparent bought a house in the Santa Monica area for about $10,000. Even after adjusting for inflation, you have to add a zero to get close to today's prices.

The bottom line is that money gravitates. And each time there was any sort of critical situation--a bubble crash, a "normal" recession, or a political shift--property and investment capital became consolidated a little bit more. Large corporations and lone investors alike gobbled up as much property as they could, and doled it out tactfully enough to make De Beers proud. Oh, and rent control is the devil, and the government employee pension deficit is about to crack a trillion dollars.

Welcome to the land of opportunity.

dale clark's picture

I love California and would like to live out there some day. To be honest, I'm not familiar with California's financial situation. However, companies move to cheaper places all the time. Obviously, the more expensive places will have more exodus and highest profile. The market always finds a way to starighten itself out.

dale clark's picture

I love Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach. What I love and can afford are two different things :)

Casey ATKINS's picture

San Luis Obispo is a beautiful little town. I'd live there but without a high paying job I couldn't afford it.

Matthew Saville's picture

Have fun spending $3-4K a month on an apartment / mortgage in Santa Monica or Manhattan Beach.

Don't move here unless you have a secure job lined up that is going to bring in 3-4x your potential rent, or if you're a freelance / self-employed photographer or something, don't move here unless you have 6+ months worth of cost-of-living saved up to cushion yourself. Otherwise you'll just end up living in a van down by the river.

Matthew Saville's picture

Yeah, I was going to say, Google "Owens Valley CA air quality"... :-(

Matthew Saville's picture :-\

Apparently though, the Owens Valley is finally being cleaned up, after a long history of having the worst air quality in the country:

Alexander Petrenko's picture

State is run by the mormon/LDS church - one can always protect themself from that with aluminum foil hat.

Matthew Saville's picture

Brigham, based on your first name I'm going to take the liberty of guessing that you were born LDS in Utah. Thank you for adding your insight. And, cultural / religious issues aside, the issue about air quality and water supply is also extremely important for is to be paying more attention to as human beings.

However California is in a similarly rough situation with respect to water, and air quality too depending on where you live. It also has its fair share of exclusion or coldness towards outsiders.

I'm not sure if you still live in Utah, or moved elsewhere, or maybe you're in CA, but in my opinion it's just not that much better here. Literally the only thing CA has going for itself right now is great weather, and money for the pockets of the wealthiest upper-crust.

Michael Coen's picture

They aren't the only ones getting out of California. Folks are leaving here in droves over the housing crisis. I've lived here all my life, and am getting ready to head out soon myself. We live in a small, "rent controlled" building in Los Angeles where the conditions are bad enough to be considered slum adjacent; but we get what we pay for. One-bedroom apartment rents have shot up several hundred dollars in my area over the course of about a year-and-a-half. With $1600-1700 / month, you'd be lucky to get 750 sq ft. of space, off-street parking, and a laundry facility.

The state legislature passed a set of measures last year in favor of more affordable housing, unfortunately they waited until this was a real issue to act. We passed similar measures at the local level last year, but the problem is already out of control.

Mike Schrengohst's picture

Man their stuff is expensive, maybe they can lower their prices since their overhead will shrink?

Deleted Account's picture

They are expensive until you factor in their quality. It's not for everyone.

Matthew Saville's picture

Considering their products are made in the USA, and they hopefully pay their employees as much as they possibly can, I don't expect RRS prices to drop. Nor should they, considering they're the best products on the market. I can't afford most of them, but I still love the BH-25 & BH-30, and consider them worth every penny.

Deleted Account's picture

Maybe if you move from California to Utah you'll be able to afford many more! ;-)

Matthew Saville's picture

Oh, don't think I haven't dreamed about that.

Deleted Account's picture

But I read somewhere recently ;-) that Utahans wouldn't accept you. :-)

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