Paradise Welcomes New Owners
New Era Begins for Prestigious 15-Year Agency
We’ve had to clear out some room in our offices amid all the advertising awards we took home last year. Not for more trophies, but for the company’s new owners.
Sales and marketing specialists Barbara Emener Karasek and Tony Karasek have purchased Paradise, founded by Cedar Hames in 2002.
Eager to provide the Paradise team with new leadership that mirrored his passion for creating a positive, people-first work environment, Cedar personally selected Barbara and her husband Tony to take ownership of the agency upon his retirement at the end of last year. And with Barbara and Tony, Cedar knew that his employees were in good hands.
“I actually interned for Cedar when I first started in this business,” explains Barbara, Paradise’s new CEO. “He showed me what a great leader could be, and I’ve never forgotten it. To come full circle and step into his shoes in the incredible agency he created isn’t just an honor, it’s a privilege.”
Barbara and Tony have assumed ownership of one of Florida’s most successful full-service advertising firms. Paradise specializes in the marketing of travel, lifestyle, and luxury brands, and counts among its clients such destinations as Naples, Marco Island & The Everglades; Amelia Island; Orlando North, Seminole County; The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort; Space Florida; The Dalí Museum, Navarre Beach; and Savannah, to name a few.
“Paradise’s amazing track record is known industry-wide and the quality of work they produce is second to none,” Barbara says. “Cedar’s leadership made the agency what it is today, and Tony and I intend to not only continue that legacy, but to build upon it.”
That means expanding Paradise’s scope into new industries, with initial targets including destinations outside of Florida, sports, entertainment, CPGs, and healthcare.
“We are energized that our agency will begin to actively seek growth opportunities,” says Tom Merrick, Chief Creative Officer. “The vast experience and incredible talent of our team will allow us to move seamlessly into other verticals.”
Barbara is an accomplished executive with more than 20 years of experience in wide range of marketing disciplines. She excels at brand strategy, consumer insights, content development and distribution, and has held senior-level positions with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the PGA TOUR, NASCAR, and the United States Olympic Committee. Check out her full bio here.
Tony, whose title is President, will head up business development for Paradise. He’s been a highly successful sales executive across a wide array of industries. Before entering the business world, the Davenport, Iowa native played professional basketball, starting his career with the Tampa Bay Stars of the United States Basketball League. The 6-foot-10 center also competed in several NBA camps and played pro hoops in France, England, Greece, China, the Dominican Republic and Israel. Check out his full bio here.
Both of the new owners are skilled in maximizing new business opportunities while building strong relationships with partners and clients. And their positive attitudes are a testament to the culture that Cedar created.