Xterra Wetsuits leaves Texas for San Diego

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SAN DIEGO – The makers of ‘Xterra Wetsuits,’ the top selling triathlon wetsuit in the world, moved the business from San Diego in an attempt to grow the business and pay fewer taxes.  After a couple of years, they’ve decided to return to its birthplace.

“We are now back,” said Xterra Wetsuit President Liz Barlow.

The business was founded in 2001, left California and went to Colorado, then Texas.

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 9.05.35 PM“We all know there are tax advantages to doing business outside of California,” said Barlow.

It’s the one point Texas Governor made in a pitch earlier this year, trying to lure in businesses out of California and get them to Texas.

“I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,” said Perry in a California radio advertisement in February.

Those behind Xterra Wetsuits went, but are now saying thanks, but no thanks to Texas.

“San Diego is where we need to be,” said Xterra Wetsuit founder Keith Simmons.

Both Simmons and Barlow say while the company was able to remain competitive after leaving California, selling tens of thousands of wetsuits, being in Texas, “it wasn’t what it was cut out to be,” said Barlow.

Company leaders said it was a lesson well learned.

“You have to rebuild your brand and that is invaluable money. You might save in taxes but you’re going to have to do more marketing,” Barlow said. “Really at the end of the day it may not make a lot of sense to leave California.”


  • guest

    Perhaps for a wetsuit company. Not many ski manufacturers in Florida either, but that's where it ends.

  • Michael

    Gotta pay to play. We've got a high tax burden yes but we also have a LOT of outdoor enthusiasts in our great state. I wonder how many of them would or did boycott due to their departure. I think it's interesting that my preferred cycling bib company Canari is still holding strong in Vista. We'll get the taxes down one day, in the meanwhile market to your consumers and those that don't know you as a California brand, we like locals that stick around, or come back as the case may be.

  • Geriatric1

    Companies move or stay due to the environment or nature of their business. If I'm a manufacturer and my primary customers are all over the US, then Texas may make a lot of sense. Conversely, if I'm a technology or biotech company (or wetsuit company as the case may be), it makes sense to be where those resources are most plentiful, like CA. I doubt there are many other wetsuit or aquatic based manufacturers in Texas or any other land locked states. Those companies need to be where their market base is.

  • sharky246

    This is what Xterra gets when they have a President with zero experience in market strategy and sustainability. Increase profitability and stop trying to be so cheap. I give it a year.

  • K.Silva

    Being located in Barrio Logan puts XTerra in a great position to take advantage of the California Enterprise Zone Tax Credits program, so there are some tax breaks in store for this California business!

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