MARKET traders are pinning their hopes on two tanks of fish to boost the number of shoppers spending at their stalls.
The garra rufa foot-nibbling fish are a first for Dinnington and have been brought in by indoor market stallholder Julie Schofield.
She used money she had saved up to get married to open her beauty business Gorgeous Tips in March and has already expanded into a bigger unit.
Neighbouring stall holders are also hoping that the new fish will attract more people into the market, which has suffered a downturn in numbers during the recession.
Julie, 28, of Lordens Hill, Dinnington, said: “I was really unhappy in my previous job at a water laboratory so I decided to set up on my own.”
“I used our wedding savings to do it but luckily my partner Andrew is very supportive because he also has his own business in gardening.”
“I learnt beauty at Rother Valley College and it’s something I always wanted to do but I couldn’t find any work when I first left college so I ended up going into admin.”
“I’m going back to do a top-up beauty course in September so I’m up to date with everything.”
The garra rufa fish suck away dead skin from feet placed in the tank with them and Julie will follow that up with a moisturising foot massage.
The treatment costs £10 for 15 minutes or £20 for 35 minutes.
“I’ve done lots of research about the fish and how it works and having worked in a water laboratory I wanted to make sure it was all hygienic and that the fish would be cared for properly,” said Julie.
“I’m hoping that they will bring more people into the market because I grew up in Dinnington and I remember the market being really busy.”
“I want people to realise that they don’t have to go to Meadowhall to get these latest treatments, they can get them here in Dinnington.”
Julie specialises in nails and says she is the only beauty business in the area to do Dashing Diva nails, which give the look of a French manicure for £9.50.
She said: “They are really popular, I can’t get them in fast enough.”
Julie and Andrew Hydes, of Dishwell Lane, Harthill, opened Golden Years in the market last October, selling shoes, nighties and thermals for older people, and have already moved to a bigger unit.
But things didn’t go entirely to plan.
“We put our house on the market so that we could put some money into the business but we haven’t been able to sell it yet,” said Julie, who still works nights as a carer for Rotherham Council.
“It’s going well but the problem is getting people to come into the market in the first place.”
Another stall which is only six months old is run by an artist who goes by the name of Tony Van Gogh.
The 63-year-old, of Maltby, who has worked on outdoor markets, sells his own paintings and jewellery.
He said: “Hopefully the garra rufa fish will help to get more people through the door. There seem to be a lot of people who don’t even know the market is here.”
“Pit villages like this used to have a close community spirit but that’s now gone, it’s a reflection of what Mrs Thatcher did.”
“A market like this with a cafe could be a place for people to meet, it could be the hub of the community.”
Computer games stall holder Matt Munroe, 30, of East Avenue, Dinnington, who has just become a dad, said it was difficult for his business to compete with the internet.
“I’ve been here for two years and we have good and bad days but things do seem to have got worse,” he said.
“I try to be as competitive as possible but there isn’t the traffic coming through the market, it always tends to be the same people.”
HE said he would like to get a shop on the main road so that he could take advantage of passing trade, particularly school children who didn’t tend to come into the market.
Dinnington indoor market opened in May 1986 and one of the original units, the card shop, is still there.
It was set up by Joan Reynolds and is now run by her daughter Vanessa, 44, of Anston, and her partner Steve.
She said: “We’ve been here long enough to see that business seems to go in waves. We do seem to be in a dip at the moment but hopefully people will always need cards.”
“I think people need to be aware that it’s a case of if you don’t use it you will lose it.”
Another longstanding stall is the pet supplies started by Janice and Lenny Middleton and run by their daughter Verity White, of Bircotes.
She said: “We have seen a difference in the number of people coming through but we’re doing OK. We get plenty of regulars and we’re a specialist for Arden Grange pet food so that brings people in.”
The market is situated on Laughton Road and is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.