I have a lot of experience doing the kind of research you're seeking
and have your answer.
I have several options for you.
The National Association of Manufacturers maintains a database that
seems exactly what you're looking for. It allows you to simply type in
an industry like "furniture" or "automobile" and up pops
sub-categories and listings of manufacturers of the type of product.
There are some 14,000 manufacturers listed in this database.
You may access this database on the NAM web site. The direct link is
But I've discovered there are other ways you can search for this kind
The closest thing the government comes to creating such a searchable
database is state secretary of state business listing. Every state's
Secretary of State office maintains searchable computer databases with
contact information of all businesses registered within their borders.
The National Association of Secretaries of State maintains a linkable
list of all 50 Secretary of State's offices. Once on an individual web
site, you may simply click on "business information" or something
similar and type in "furniture" or "automobile" to find any business
with those words in their names that are registered to conduct
business in that state.
You may access the links to each of the Secretary of States searchable
business databases online on the National Association of Secretaries
of State web site. The link is http://www.nass.org/sos/sosflags.html
Outside the NAM, the closest thing non-profit agencies come to
creating such a searchable database is the Better Business Bureau. And
this is closer to what you're looking for than the Secretaries of
State searchable database. The BBB database allows you to search by
category of business. This is a significantly narrower search than the
This link will take you directly to an advanced BBB search:
If you scroll to the bottom search engine on that page, you may type
in a keyword like "furniture" or "automobile" and businesses in those
industries that are in the BBB nationwide directory will be listed.
You may be asked to narrow your searches by state or city.
Finally, another web site allows you to search for associations of
particular industries. From there, you may search member lists of the
target associations. You may view the entire list of members of the
National Association of Associations online. This list allows you to
click on the name of each association and access its individual web
site. The link is http://www.vcanet.org/vca/master.htm
Once you're on each web site, you may search most web sites for member
lists. That will supply contact information for each individual
industry. Keep in mind, that this will not be all-inclusive. It will
only include manufacturers that are members.
I hope this helps. If you need any clarification or other information,
please don't hesitate to ask.