From DRIVING MACHINE to… dry clean?

The new Go Orange and Green Dry Cleaning pick-up station in the StormSurge Cafe is ready for business.

Mario Capone, owner of Mario’s Dry Cleaning, which provides the service, is a former pro-wrestler and racecar driver.

According to Capone, UM services include dry cleaning, laundering, wash and fold, alterations and repairs.

Capone said this is not the first time he has offered his services to the University.

“I’ve been doing football coaches’ uniforms, some football players’ jerseys, umpires’ uniforms, ladies and men’s basketball uniforms and some of the cheerleader and the band uniforms for about a few years,” Capone said.

With a background in tailoring, Capone came to the United States with his family in 1962, when he was 16 years old. After about 11 years of working in Miami, he had his own business by 1980, working his way up from a tailor to the owner of Mario’s Dry Cleaning.

“I feel more American than I do Italian,” said Capone, who feels the United States is a great country full of opportunity.

At age 23, Capone began amateur wrestling through the YMCA in Fort Myers, FL, under the alias Julius Capone.

“My idol in those days, the ’60s, was Bruno San Martino, the Champion,” said Capone, who drew his inspiration from watching wrestling on television.

After about a year and a half, Capone came to Miami and turned professional, his career lasting three and a half years.

Soon after his professional wrestling career ended, Capone took up a new hobby: professional car racing.

Once again, he derived his inspiration from watching races on television, his idol being Mario Andretti, who won four National Indy Car Championships, logged more than one hundred career victories and captured more pole positions than any other driver in history, according to St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, 2002 Gale Group. Capone, whose career lasted more than a decade, said he raced in local speedways and old pro races, including the 1986 Miami Grand Prix.

The dry cleaning station is located across from the StormSurge Cafe in the UC. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Christine Dominguez can be contacted at