Well, I am definitely 'middle of nowhere' - but it seems that once you are 'off route', you would be 'off route' for any company - it doesn't make sense that I am on Spee Dee's 'route' but not UPS - especially since UPS has a store just 18 miles from me. The nearest Spee Dee store is 120 miles away.When I have looked at the map the higher rates will be in the middle of nowhere. I work for an LTL carrier (less than truck load) and rates shoot up if it is out of route.
This is exactly what I have done. I build almost all of my own woodenware now (with the exception of frames) and when I purchase, I do so in bulk from Dadant (Sioux Falls), Mann Lake or B&B - because they will ship through Spee Dee.So start scouting around for local manufacturers to see if it is worth the gas and time to pick up the items versus the convenience of having it shipped to you.
For me, I don't have any interest in manufacturing woodenware.what needs to be done is more people to make thier own stuff. I even contacted some of my friends that own maufacturing plants in Inda to make all the wood wear I need and I am about to see about opening up a west coast market and under cut the price to the bone.