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Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018
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St. Petersburg’s Paradise Advertising agency is sold

ST. PETERSBURG — Prominent travel and tourism agency Paradise Advertising and Marketing announced Tuesday it was sold to new owners following the retirement of founder Cedar Hames.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Barbara Emener Karasek and Tony Karasek purchased the 16-year-old company from Hames after he selected the local couple to take it over when he retired at the end of last year.

"I actually interned for Cedar when I first started in this business," new Paradise CEO Barbara Karasek said in a statement. "He showed me what a great leader could be, and I’ve never forgotten it."

The St. Petersburg-based advertising firm specializes in marketing travel, lifestyle and luxury brands, with major clients including destinations such as Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades; the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort; Space Florida; The Dalí Museum and others.

The couple plans to grow the company’s scope by beginning to target destinations outside of Florida, sports and sports tourism, entertainment and health care.

Barbara Karasek, a Tampa native, has more than two decades of experience leading B2B and B2C marketing. Tony Karasek, Paradise’s new president, is a former professional basketball player turned sales, business and tourism developer.

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