What happened to Antonelli Bros?

jebfarmFebruary 20, 2010

Does anyone know why Antonelli Begonias is no longer in business? Closed as of January 10th? There has to be some kind of story here. Thanks for any information!

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Thought maybe someone here would know something about this business closing after 81 years! The only thing I know is that there was a fire a few years ago, and that the place became a bit dilapidated - my educated guess is that a combination of events took place that led to the closing of this once great company.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 1:10PM
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mymanga(z5 NY)

I am a newbie. Any good online place to buy Begonia now that Antonelli is gone ?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 9:16PM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

Wow, I didn't hear they closed. I bought begonia tubers from them about 2 years ago and was very happy with them. I still have 2 of the tubers that I overwinter in my basement.

Sorry to hear they closed after such a long time.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 9:38PM
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gregsytch(z9b Tampa Bay)

Antonelli had a fire about 2 years ago or so, and they never really recovered. I am not sure, and do not want to spread rumors, so I will assume that is what happened. They were an institution and more of these type of plant places are closing all the time. The "big boxes" are really cutting into independent plant business! Go on eBay and you can find a good selection of begonias.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 8:27PM
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Small businesses either have to carve out a niche or be able to compete with the big box stores (lower prices). Better yet, they should get a contract with the big stores to spread their product so the masses can see firsthand what begonias look like. Most people still think rex, wax including dragon wings, and tuberous is all there is to this fascinating family of plants.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 8:41AM
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Oh, NO!

I'm so sad to hear this news. They certainly had much higher quality tuberous begonias than any of the big box stores.

And Michael, of "Michael's Fuscias" offered a really nice selection of cane, rhizomatous and shrub begonias.

*sigh* oh this is very sad.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 1:14PM
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I received a letter from a court saying that they had filed chapter 11 and that my order would not be shipped. :-(

So, this year I bought from a company in the same area that has similar lines and quality and was very happy with the tubers I received. Their site is www.goldenstatedirect.com

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 6:03PM
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Goldenstatedirect.com has a news item that they bought Antonelli Brothers assets.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 11:11PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Not knowing the system, I wonder if anyone here might be able to say if the letter being sent would mean that jenosb would not have gotten a refund?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 2:07PM
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20 Years ago I was a salesman at the Antonelli Bros.. This company was started by my great uncles.I myself left 20 years ago do to family probelms.I would like to know what happen.these were great men that started this company.I reget leaving the way I did and now to find out their is no more Antonelli's bros. If any body really knows what happen or maybe one of my relative could fill me in what happened to everybody. they can contact me at 775-379-9531

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 1:40PM
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peggiewho(z9 Ca)

The business sold to Golden State Direct. This is what they have to say-

Here is a link that might be useful: Golden State

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 1:49AM
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As you can see Antonelli Bros. has merged with Golden State, their wonderful plants/tubers are still available as the Amerhybrid series. If you are looking for Michael Breneman he is selling his begonias at Pedrick's Corner (along with fuchsias), he advises his customers to call him to order if I have read the site right. It is pedrickscorner.com.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:18AM
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I bought from Antonelli for years then I switched to white flower farm and now I import mine from England.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 4:30PM
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Michael is at Aladdin Nursery in Corralitos ( Watsonville ), California...I still buy fuschia starts from him, as well as tuberous begonias :) I sure miss Antonelli's,I bought so many wonderful varieties of plants from them over the years...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 10:17PM
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peggiewho(z9 Ca)

Thanks for the info on Aladdin. We are on a kid vacation and I got to check them out. I have loaded up on half price fuchsia starts, a hanging basket that called to me and a few begonias. I saw how they staked fuchsia up to make a small tree. They had plenty of time for me and my questions. They have some interesting canes. I got a fuzzy one. I could make this a regular trip!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 7:25PM
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Hello, I am the Great grandson of Peter Antonelli one of the three founders of Antonelli's Inc. the reason we had to close down our store was because Goldenstate Sued us over a some we owed them, instead of working out a deal. so we went bankrupt and they bought the business that my Great Grandfather built from the ground up. it was a very sad day for our family. well i hope that answers your question.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 11:20PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

There is one person saying it is a merger, the other says a hostile take over and when go to the website of golden state, I don't even see any begonias.

I had a beautiful collection of Antonelli Begonias in the front of my house because they liked morning sun. I have a eastern front. Then some criminal person dug them all up and stole them. Now I only have one orange one in the back. Everyone in the neighborhood loved seeing my display, but because of one bad person, that has been ruined. I need a security camera for the front of house if I could do that cheaply. I don't have a good place to grow begonias anymore, since I can't do it in front. But, if I could back there and get more, I would, with the new security system, but without Antonelli Begonias I have lost interest in Begonias. It is just really horrible the way somethings workout.

Here is a link that might be useful: Antonelli Begonias

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 12:59AM
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For those of you who are still lamenting the loss of the Antonelli begonia firm in its original form/owners, there is a grower who has been working on hybridizing their old plants from several years ago and is producing beautiful new varieties. His begonias are for sale (in bloom) in nurseries in Watsonville (Aladdin) and Santa Cruz (ProBuild Garden Center) and Berkeley (East Bay Nursery had them last year), among other places, for $6.95. Since you select them in bloom, you can pick to your heart's content. They are superior plants.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Hi I would like to introduce myself.

My name is Andy Snow and I have been the begonia breeder for Golden State Bulb Growers (formally The Brown Bulb Ranch) for 28 years. I learned the trade from Todd Brown who was taught by his father, Worth.

I can assure you that Golden State Bulb Growers did not "sue" Antonelli brothers, we merely refused to extend them more credit.

We had been growing Antonelli brothers begonia crop for over 20 years, they originally delivered plants but then we started getting seed and we germed it, transplanted it, field grew it and returned the tubers to them in December. They always paid before we delivered the tubers.

They maintained their own mother stock and collected their own seed.

A couple years ago they did not pay us for a crop. We did try to work with them on the payment schedule, and delivered the tubers and waited until they could collect sales revenue, but to no avail. We decided that we could not afford to go deeper in arrears by planting the next crop without payment for the previous; times are tough for us too.

I was sad to see Antonelli�s go out of business I hoped they would be able to get their crop planted by themselves and make it though these tough times. I thought we had had a good relationship for many years.

We bid on their assets after they filed bankruptcy and, having the winning bid, had to buy the assets despite the money we were still owed.

I, as a begonia breeder, was of course delighted to have their mother stock, although it has not been an asset to our bottom line at this point.

Brown�s have always been a wholesale business and Antonelli a retail one. I hope that our company will fill the retail gap left by Antonelli�s departure but I don�t do the sales.

One of the Antonellis (Bobbit) said to me that he was "happy" that the assets went to Browns because of our long relationship which goes back several generations.

One of their long time employees is growing begonias now, I offered him a job but he wanted to go out on his own, I wish him the best of luck. He does not have their original stock, he has his own lines and has bought some plants from us. All the plants I see in the nurseries look well grown.

There are some spectacular crosses coming from the merger of Antonelli stock and ours.

Sorry for the long post

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:17PM
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peggiewho(z9 Ca)

I bought tubers from Golden State Bulb Growers last year. I had some beautiful flowers. I am very pleased to know that they are from the original Antonelli Bros mother plants. I liked the Ruffle Mix the best. I had one ruffled white one imprinted on my memory it was so strong and beautiful. I am not a specialist, sort of a display gardener generalist. These begonias did well for me despite our very hot dry summers. I also bought some fancy calla lilies from Golden State Bulb. The callas are pocking up through the violas now. The begonias are leafing out now. I didn't start them early but they are jumping up and making up for lost time. I also bought some Costco begonias which were fun. The Golden State are 'better formed', not flat faced. They have a fuller center and not so 'weedy'. I have gardened for years and I am at the point of wanting better plants. It's more difficult now that half our local nurseries have closed. I hope Golden State is around the next time I need begonias or calla lilies. It looks like what I have will be lasting a very long time.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Tropical thought, Put a long wire screen over all of the pots before the plants get large. The leaves grow through the screen and no one can get at the pots. One time I had a realtor/owner pull out a huge sweet pea display at its height in the middle of the night. He blamed the low interest of his ugly house on my poor sweetpeas in the parkway.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Thank you Peggiewho, I am glad you liked the begonias. I would humbly like to point out that those tubers were from our stock. The Attonelli stock is in the greenhouses and crosses have been made but they are not being released yet.
I have been working hard on GSBG begonias for 28 years and would favorably compare ours to anyone else in the world (in my biased but nontheless humble opinion)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 1:07PM
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peggiewho(z9 Ca)

Thanks for clarifying. I will watch for the release and offering of more special begonias. I am glad to know that in your humble opinion, biased or no, that they compare well. The most common statement I heard from guests was, "What is that?" Everyone from the house painter to the neighbor thought them beautiful. You may have breed them but they are mine now. You make me look like a genius. Thanks

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 5:01PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I was going email Andy Snow and ask him about helping me find the Begonia food in the plastic bag that is a red powder, but he is not accepting emails from other members so I hope he sees this. I posted about a food they used to sell at Antonelli but I forgot the name and I can't do a web search.

I just found and upload my photos of Antonelli Brothers Begonias to Flickr. So, if you miss them have a look. I had a lot of their begonia in front of my house and they were so great, that some criminal type dug up my tubers and stole them. Now I only have one begonia left and it's orange. I used to have red, pink, yellow, pink and white, and orange.

Here is a link that might be useful: My photos of Antonelli Brothers Begonias

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Opps Sorry Tropical.
I didn't know that my e-mail was somehow disabled. I'll fix it. You can write to me at absnow(at)goldenstatebulb.com.
We just use a peat-lite 20-10-20 on our mother stock pots.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:32AM
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50 years ago this August, I was married carrying beautiful White begonias from Antonelli in my bridal bouquet. My attendants had pink and white picot begonias in their bouquets. I was hoping to have those beautiful blooming plants at our anniversary celebration. So sad that they are no longer in business!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:16PM
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but the culture continues. they are still available under a diff tm name 'amerihybrids'

Here is a link that might be useful: amerihybrids

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 11:45AM
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