The drivers at Griggs Lumber, a Carter Lumber-owned dealer that services the Outer Banks, N.C., cruise across sandy beaches to reach their clients. It’s hard work with a big risk: getting stuck. But to Mark Hicks, it’s just another day on the job.

What’s it take for beach driving? We have to air down the tires. Truck tires run about 100 psi—we have to air down to 50. Sometimes, depending on the softness of the sand, we use a particular truck. It’s a six-wheel drive, off-road vehicle that’s designed for multiple terrains.

Ever get stuck? Yes, but our drivers are well-prepared. Some have gotten themselves into situations where they’ve had to be pulled out, but that only happens once or twice a year.

What do you look for in a driver? The drivers who we have pay special attention to the details. A lot of times, our trucks are within 8 feet of pedestrians or other vehicles, so they have to be on the lookout for people darting out into traffic. 

What about when there’s a hurricane or a nor'easter? In a nor’easter, we have to follow the tide charts. We can only deliver at low tide.

Are clients flexible about delayed deliveries? Yeah, they understand. It’s just a way of life for them. They’re looking at The Weather Channel, and they’re forecasting the weather out for a week. If they see that the winds might kick up, then they’ll order more materials.

How do you deal with changing tides? The tides change every six hours, every single day. They don’t happen at the same time [each day]. So we have to pay attention to the tide charts. It can upset your business.

Are there additional cost to being so close to the beach? You’re dealing with sand in everything you do, so yes. I have to have about four more people on staff than you typically would because of the environment that we deal with.