What's the best way to find a local (or at least regional) manufacturer?
Is there a good web resource, or a list, or a database of manufacturers by country, region, or even state (US)? Google-fu can only get you so far when all of the off-shore manufacturers (which are a dime a dozen) have better SEO than the US-based manufacturers. I know ThomasNet has a huge list of manufacturers that they partner with, but not all of them produce their goods in the US.
I believe wholeheartedly in keeping as much of the work as possible within the US (or locally, for those of you not in the States). Like, if I could find a New York-based manufacturer of things I need (bottles, tins, boxes, etc.) that would be ideal, but as long as I can keep everything within the States, I'm happy.
I've been lucky enough to find US-based manufacturers for nearly everything I use from packaging to printing, but I will have needs in the near future that cannot be met by the manufacturers I am currently working with.
Aside from the basic search methods, I have found creators with similar products to mine in the past and contacted them to ask them who they use. Some do not want to share and that is fine, but many have been very helpful. I have always tried to point other creators that contact me in a good direction.
Hi - we ONLY manufacture locally. We like working in our neighborhood more for the 1:1 relationships then the 'made in USA' reason... 30% of our backers are outside the US.
Every major city has a (poorly-advertised) manufacturing trade show - a good place to start, but you'll only find the shops with enough budget to rent a booth. You need to network with them like you would if you were looking for a job - manufacturers always know other manufacturers. When I'm visiting one, I usually tour their zone to see what else is there...
mfg.com is another resource that has delivered results!