Cocktail waitress Michelle Hurley of Hartly usually can be found carrying a tray of drinks in Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, although she does sometimes step behind one of the casino’s bars.

Cocktail waitress Michelle Hurley of Hartly usually can be found carrying a tray of drinks in Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, although she does sometimes step behind one of the casino’s bars.

An employee for more than 11 years, she works mostly day shift and took a few minutes to share with the Post her experience over the years.


Q Over your 11 years at Dover Downs, how have you seen it change?

A When I started working here it was a lot smaller. It’s just amazingly grown. It’s become more classy, there’s the different dining places and the nightclub. It’s just classier.

It’s always been nice, but I feel like we can give a lot of the Atlantic City hotels and casinos a run for their money now.


Q Even in the past year, have you seen a difference with the table games?

A Things are great, but we do struggle in between the economy and the crazy tax that is imposed on Dover Downs by the state. We kind of worry about the governor because he’s really pushing for three more casinos. I’m kind of nervous about that.

A lot of the little things we used to be able to give to the guests, kind of had to get cut off. So now you really, really have to concentrate on good customer service. Sometimes that’s the only thing that gets them in here.


Q What is it that you do to have good customer service?

A Just being polite and kind. My approach usually is when I have my tray to go up to them and say, “Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, Can I get you something to drink?” If they say yes, I get them their drinks. I’ll ask them if they are having a good time. If it’s somebody I know, I’ll talk about their kids, or their grandkids or their dogs. I’ve been here so long a lot of the people are friends and you see them outside of work, too, so you get to really know them.

We have one gentleman who comes in every Thursday, he’s older, and if he’s not here on Thursdays then we call and ask, “Where are you at?” He lives over by Baltimore so we worry about him.


Q What are some of the most popular drinks when you go around with a tray?

A Out on the floor it’s pretty basic — sodas, coffee, of course, basic drinks.

It was really fun working at the Lobby Bar because they have 22 martinis. So you get to do a little more imaginative drink making.


Q Is it mostly non-alcoholic drinks that you’re serving to them?

A Daytime, yes. Nighttime, no. It kind of depends on the time of day. Weekends are a lot busier for alcohol.


Q How do events in the Rollins Center affect the traffic on the floor?

A We have one convention that goes on, it’s the Lion’s Club. They party hard. They have fun so they come in.

When we have weddings over there we have a lot of people that trickle in. Boxing is huge, before and after. Concerts are big, after they are over.


Q Are certain times of the year busier than others?

A Around Christmas time, it gets a little slow, I’m sure that’s everywhere. After Christmas it starts picking up again. It slows down a little in the summer. Holiday weekends are busier like this weekend coming up.

NASCAR is huge. So a lot of years I did a skybox and last time I did the terrace bar, which is the smoking bar, and it was crazy. The skybox is kind of quiet and sedate, and then when you get out there [to the terrace bar] it was a lot of fun. Time flew by out there. I have noticed the last few races attendance has dropped. But it is fun, race weekend. Come Monday, we’re all exhausted and we walk around here like zombies.


Q What do you like to do when you’re not working?

A I have three kids so that keeps me busy. My oldest is Walter, he’s 20. My middle son is C.D., he’s 18 and a senior at Caesar Rodney, and my daughter Kimberly is 14.

I do a lot of gardening and canning. I love to read, anything I can get my greedy little hands on.