Business Updates in Coral Gables

The Big Split: Kreps de Maria PR Morphs into Two Firms

After three decades of representing a “who’s who” of top South Florida clients, Gables-based PR firm Kreps de Maria has split into two new PR companies. The agency’s two principal partners, Sissy DeMaria-Koehne and Israel Kreps, have each formed separate firms in Coral Gables.

Business Updates
Sissy DeMaria-Koehne and Israel Kreps of the Gables-based PR firm Kreps de Maria.

DeMaria has moved to 300 Sevilla Ave. with her new company Cultivate PR. Kreps will remain at 220 Alhambra Circle, and for now will be known as Kreps PR & Marketing. Staff and clients from Kreps de Maria will be evenly split. “Sissy and I have had a wonderful run, said Kreps. “We are working through an amicable, seamless transition, as we have been, and will continue to be, close friends.” Said DeMaria-Koehne, “We are both committed and invested in our clients and to offering them a smooth transition.”

Kreps confirmed that the partners split due to an offer last year from a larger PR firm to merge. He wanted the merger, DeMaria-Koehne did not. Kreps said he would continue to pursue the merger with the company, which will remain unnamed until the process is complete.

A Shot in the Arm: Logistics Firm PayCargo Gets a Cash infusion

Coral Gables-based payments transactions company PayCargo recently received a $35 million investment led by New York private equity firm Insight Partners. PayCargo was launched by CEO Eduardo del Riego in 2007 to develop an electronic system to pay airlines, trains, ports and others in the transport business, so that shippers could get their freight released quickly and safely.

The company now works with 5,000 vendors, from shipping lines to warehouses and air carriers, and handled more than $4 billion in cargo transactions in 2020 alone, says del Riego.

Business Updates
The PayCargo team.

With its new cash infusion, PayCargo expects to double its payment transactions annually over the next few years, boosting worldwide staff from 60 to over 100. It now has offices in Coral Gables, Madrid and Amsterdam, and aims to open in Los Angeles, Asia and Latin America. Growth potential remains enormous, del Riego says, because most international trade still relies on paper-based payment systems such as checks, cash and vouchers. PayCargo set up headquarters in Coral Gables in 2009.

Business Briefs

Coral Gables’ Department of Economic Deveopment has begun to distribute $800,000 in small businesses recovery grants to be used for rent payments. While the city received more than 115 grant applications, it could only afford to fund 53 of the applications, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each recipient will be granted $15,000 to be used exclusively to pay back rent. $750,000 of the funds are from the CARES Act, with another $50,000 diverted from technical workshops. Recipients include such local companies as Small Tea, Gables Cigar Shop, Fritz & Franz, Punto Criollo, Blue Serenity, Bellmónt Spanish Restaurant and Club Pilates.

Coral Gables commercial real estate development firm the Allen Morris Company has joined forces with Miami-based Black Salmon and Atlanta-based Stormont Hospitality Group to form AMS Hospitality. The joint venture was formed to acquire $300 million in distressed hospitality assets across the country, including hotels. Allen Morris developed the iconic Alhambra Towers in downtown Gables, the SLS LUX in the Brickell area and multiple properties in Atlanta.

Gables-based Fresh Del Monte Produce has been awarded first place in the Green and Environmental Stewardship category at PR Daily’s prestigious 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards. The award reflects the company’s growing commitment to sustainable practices. Currently, Del Monte owns and conserves more than 23,000 acres of forest across its pineapple and banana operations in Costa Rica. Del Monte also recently joined the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which promotes science-based emissions reduction targets by the private sector.