Luke Knowles, the founder of Free Shipping Day, expects about 2,000 businesses to take part in the event, which falls on Dec. 16. For small-business owners thinking about participating, it's important to "take a look at all the hard costs -- the labor, their corrugation or box, the product, all the overhead -- and make sure they are still making a profit," said Jeffrey Dinslage, a co-owner of Nature Hills Nursery.

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