LIMA — It’s important to be classy on a budget. That’s why Erica Hawkins opened ClassE Boutique in Lima, to fill a niche.

“The clothing that I carry has a really high quality, but it’s very affordable,” Hawkins said. “So I know that there are a lot of places in the community where you can go and shop. You go in with $65, you might come out with one item. You do that here, you get two outfits.”

Hawkins celebrated the ribbon-cutting for her business, located at 1519 N. Main St., Suite 3, on Friday with the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. The store is open 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. Her business also has a Facebook page, ClassE Boutique, and an Instagram page, KeepinItClassE.

She opened the boutique five months ago and enjoys providing a relaxing atmosphere. The store includes a variety of women’s shirts, jeans, shoes and accessories. Hawkins decorated it herself, expressing her own sense of style.

Her favorite location in the store is in a corner near the front.

“I have a chair that I refurbished myself with a chandelier above it,” she said. “… Sometimes when I’m here by myself, I sit there and reflect and come up with new ideas and add more to my vision.”

That includes sharing her faith as you walk in the door.

“As soon as you walk in the door, there is a faith-based section. I was raised to put God first in everything I do, so as soon as you walk in the door, you’ll hit that faith-based section because I literally put God first.”

It’s been an exciting journey over the past six months for Hawkins, who also works as the programs director for the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. She also wants to share more of her story by getting into public speaking and being “honestly relatable.”

Her experiences and an associate’s degree in business helped her open ClassE Boutique, but she enjoyed learning along the way too.

“There’s a lot that I didn’t learn in college. It’s dealing with the customers, figuring out what customers want, finding a price point that works for them as well as myself,” she said.

She hopes the experience is enjoyable for everyone.

“I want people who don’t have the funds to spend on shopping themselves to be able to come in and get something affordable that makes them feel happy,” Hawkins said.

Erica Hawkins, the owner of ClassE Boutique, said her favorite location in her new business is this corner with a comfortable chair in it. The business, which offers affordable women’s clothes and shoes, is open at 1519 N. Main St., Suite 3, Lima.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

Lima’s ClassE Boutique aims for affordability