The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Witt’s Carlsbad Pipelines: A Sage Creek Family’s 37 Years of Business

Photo by Nadia Razzaq
Carlsbad Pipelines t-shirts are for sale on the table at the front of the shop. Pipelines apparel has become a Carlsbad classic.

Witt’s Carlsbad Pipelines has been the one-stop shop for locals and visitors in Carlsbad for over 37 years. What began as the vision of Witt Rowlett has prospered into a family business with his wife and children, two of which currently attend Sage Creek.

The Rowlett family poses behind the register. Lennox and Kiaya work alongside their parents and have gained valuable experiences from it. (Photo by Nadia Razzaq)

Owner Witt Rowlett was born and raised in Carlsbad, spending most of his days placing pipes in the sewer lines for his father’s plumbing business, influencing the business name of Carlsbad Pipelines later on. After high school, he attended the University of Santa Barbara where he discovered a passion for surfing.

A knee injury put a temporary hold on Rowlett’s surfing career but began his work for Gordon & Smith, a surf shop in Oceanside. This experience piqued Rowlett’s interest in customer service and retail, prompting him to look into beginning his own line of business.

From the start, the Carlsbad Pipelines logo came naturally to Rowlett. Combining a barrel from surfing with the half pipes from skating, the distinct trademark was born. With some money from his grandmother and his aunt, the self-starter combined his ingenuity in marketing and his affinity for skating and surfing into a business, located in the prime spot beneath the Carlsbad sign on Carlsbad Boulevard.

For two years, Rowlett lived in the back of the shop and worked tirelessly to build a brand for himself. In 2003, Witt’s wife, Dresden Rowlett, began her work for the business and has found herself increasingly involved in the business. 

Pipelines has been thriving most notably for stellar customer service and sponsorships of accomplished athletes such as skateboard legend Tony Hawk and surf icon Taylor Knox. The sponsorships, granted prior to their remarkable careers, were based on Witt’s recognition of their good hearts and community work, making them a perfect fit to represent Carlsbad Pipelines. 

Pipelines continues a long legacy of giving back. Donations to schools like Carlsbad High School and Sage Creek, while also supporting the military bases over at Camp Pendleton, are only a few initiatives the business has taken over the years. Rowlett has strived to support the youth by hiring high school students, a full-circle moment in which Witt grants the opportunity he was given that inspired Carlsbad Pipelines. 

“We just try to be as helpful and as informative and caring as we can be as a business so I try to install that in each one of my employees, which also, I feel, helps them to grow as people and to help better understand themselves and how they’re supposed to interact with people and in society,” Witt said. 

The dedication of the Rowlett family to Pipelines has allowed the business to flourish. Sophomore Lennox Rowlett and senior Kiaya Rowlett, two proud Sage Creek Cross Country and Track & Field athletes, work beside their parents in running their family’s business. Lennox and Kiaya reminisce on fond childhood memories in the shop.

Carlsbad Pipelines skateboard decks hanging on the wall. The shop sells multiple items featuring the logo from t-shirts to towels. (Photo by Nadia Razzaq)

“We grew up here and we would make forts out of the boogie boards, annoy customers, definitely hassle the parents and the locals,” Kiaya said. “Growing up, we would always do little stuff to help out and we learned at a young age that you need to work and be helpful to the family.”

Kiaya and Lennox admire the work their family has done for Carlsbad Pipelines. The siblings look forward to the future of the business and where all the new responsibilities they have earned with age will take them. 

“Working with the people is the best part because we sometimes get really nice people in and that’s the highlight of my day,” Lennox said.

The Rowlett’s have found their work to be kind to them over the years. Witt has been able to travel the world with his family, an advantage of being his own boss. Meanwhile, the family continues its legacy of being a great resource to each and every customer who walks into Pipelines. Witt recalls interactions where he has seen a generational effect play a role in the clientele. 

“I’ve got people coming back who, 35 years ago, were little groms at nine years old coming here with their parents, and now they’ve grown up and they’re bringing their kids in and even some that have grandkids coming in,” Witt said. “That’s really gratifying and it’s pretty cool to see the generations that have come through here.”

Plans of retirement and travel loom large as Witt and Dresden hope to see as much of the world as they can in the near future. So far in their travels, the family has seen Carlsbad Pipelines being represented in the places they’d least expected. On the streets of New York, the spotting of a Carlsbad Pipelines shirt was a mere coincidence. 

“It’s really cool and it’s something really special,” Kiaya said. “People come in from everywhere and they always have these fun stories from here and how they grew up in the shop and it’s the kind of place where all the groms come and get their first wax from… It’s nice to know we’re at the center point of that childhood memory.”

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    Nick CepekOct 1, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Great job