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Pop-up businesses open

| Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

NEW YORK — Here today, gone in weeks — pop-up shops and temporary stores are back for the holiday season.

At Christmas Lights Etc.'s Atlanta showroom, the public gets to shop for about a month and a half, browsing the high-end Christmas trees, lighting and other holiday decorations. The temporary store pulls in additional sales and the company finds it's good marketing for its core business of selling online and to commercial and wholesale customers.

Small business owners increasingly use pop-up shops as promotional tools and test labs for merchandise. Manufacturers, designers and online retailers use them to decide whether to open a permanent physical store.

A pop-up store was part of the startup plan for Zady, an online clothing and home goods retailer that launched in late August. Owners Maxine Bedat and Soraya Darabi chose a high-profile location, in the Delta Airlines terminal at New York's LaGuardia Airport. The store operates from Nov. 4 until Jan. 4. They wanted to get feedback about their merchandise.

“We have all sorts of metrics to see what customers are doing on the website, but nothing compares to actually seeing them interact with our products,” Bedat says.

Janet Holian opened a pop-up in Boston to see whether Gemvara, her online custom jewelry business, would succeed with a physical location. The shop opened in a vacant store on Nov. 3 and will operate until Feb. 15, longer than most pop-ups, to take advantage of Valentine's Day.

“I wanted to see whether people needed to actually touch or feel the jewelry or meet us,” Holian says.

Her instincts were right. Women want to see the merchandise and meet the people selling it. Men who are shopping for jewelry that can cost in the thousands of dollars want to be sure they're buying from someone reputable.

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