When Russell Manton moved the headquarters of his business, Global Interiors, from Florida — where, he joked, the undesirable people from the North have “graduated,” taking their attitudes with them — to Midcoast Maine in 2001, it was a lifestyle decision.

By Christmas, he hopes to move a portion of his manufacturing here too, and while that means severing ties with factories in several countries known for cheap exports, Manton said it amounted to a business decision.

Manton, a British citizen with a green card, first came to the Midcoast in 1994, working for a summer on a tall ship based in Camden. The people were friendlier and less superficial than in Florida, he found. The small towns and villages were similar to where he grew up in his native England. He liked that there were different seasons.

A business trip brought him back to Belfast in 2001. At the end of his stay, he called Global Interiors’ headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., and announced he wasn’t coming back.

After setting up shop briefly in Belfast, Manton opened an office with two employees in a converted chicken barn in Morrill, eventually closing the Boca Raton offices.

Global Interiors sells high-tech door locks, and no-frills, bedbug-killing mattress covers, mostly to hotels, though the company recently started marketing its products to private households.

From his modest office in Morrill, Manton has managed to oversee a sprawling network of manufacturers, distributors, installers and information technology professionals located around the world — factories in China, Pakistan and the Philippines and several subcontractors in the Southeastern United States — selling products to clients on four continents.

It’s a business model that is both miraculous and also typical of how business is done today.

Like many products bearing the labels of American companies, Global Interiors’ Suretech locks and Save-a-Bed mattress covers are made in countries where wages are substantially lower, shipped to the U.S., then distributed to clients.

But the financial costs of doing business overseas — wages and shipping — have been creeping up in recent years. And the spiritual costs have taken a toll on Manton, who expressed exhaustion from 15 years of dealing with suppliers on the other side of the globe. Manufacturing in Maine, he said, would solve at least 50 percent of the issues the company faces.

“The benefits are being able to control your stock, how and when you need it,” he said.

Manton described the quality of goods coming out of Chinese factories as following a six-week downward curve. The workmanship is initially very good, he said, but declines steadily until he confronts the manufacturer, at which point the quality comes back up to an acceptable level and the process starts again.

Transportation costs have quadrupled in the last two years — the trend started with the spike in fuel costs but has continued, Manton said, because of the imposition of surcharges long after gas prices subsided. And delays have become more common as the big shipping companies make fewer runs with more stops to move the most freight with the least amount of fuel.

Manton said the difference between a 21-day delivery time and a 45-day turnaround is especially difficult to absorb because the bedbug mattress cover market is so new. As a consequence, in the first two quarters of this year, he ordered too few.

“And that’s predominantly because of the publicity that these little bedbug things have got,” he said. “It’s very difficult to say, OK, we’re going to bring over 20,000 of these units, and then we find that during the time that they’re being manufactured and on a boat that we’ve sold 30,000 of them.”

Shipments are hung up and subjected to fees in customs — a hitch that got worse, Manton said, under the Department of Homeland Security. Even acts of God are amplified, as in the case of one of Global Interiors’ manufacturers in Northern Pakistan, which has not been heard from since the country was overwhelmed by floods this summer.

Manton did a comprehensive business plan that includes manufacturing the mattress covers locally and found that using Maine labor — 15 to 20 people, he estimates — will increase production costs by eight to 18 percent.

“It’s not 100 percent or 200 percent,” he said. “So, these horror stories that you hear about, ‘Oh, we can’t bring manufacturing back because it will cost us twice as much.’ It just isn’t there.

“Short of having a cotton plantation right outside our front door and a chemical plant to produce polyurethane,” Manton joked, the company will still have to rely on outside manufacturers for raw materials, but many of the headaches would disappear in less time than it takes a freighter to get from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.

And Manton has reason to believe business will pick up.

Global Interiors mattress covers employ a simple design — a tight weave polyurethane fabric that traps the bedbugs inside the mattress, effectively starving them — and minimal packaging, making them cheaper than many of their competitors. The biggest impediment to new business, Manton said, is name recognition.

“Save-a-bed,” that is.

Bedbugs have undergone a swift transformation from Depression-era bedfellow to modern-day terrorist network — a change that Manton sees as a matter more of perception than prevalence.

“It’s every day,” he said. “AOL, MSN, Google, the search engines; there’s always something going on,” he said. On Sept. 20, Manton read a news headline over the phone: the pesky parasites had shut down Niketown store in New York City.

A Google search for “bedbugs” turns up between 1.4 million and 2.6 million results, depending upon whether it’s spelled as one word or two. But connecting these searches with Save-a-bed mattress covers, Manton has found, has been almost impossible.

Global Interiors paid an online company specializing in “search engine optimization” a large sum of money based on promises that its Web site would get prominent placement.

Several days later, it became obvious that it was a scam.

Unfortunately, shifting production of the mattress covers to Maine won’t solve the problem of Internet visibility. To that end, Manton is working with several other SEO companies, though he said he remained skeptical.

As for the physical move, Manton expressed hope the state would help Global Interiors make the transition. To this end, he contributed to one of the gubernatorial campaigns, hoping to have the ear of the next administration.

If government help doesn’t materialize, Manton said, he is prepared to use private financing.

“We’ll do it. It’s not a question of if we’re going to do it,” he said. “It’s how we can do it cost-effectively.”