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10-year-old Seagrove welder starts crafts business, buys dream car

SEAGROVE, N.C. -- Most kids would do something like start a lemonade stand or have a bake sale to raise a little cash, but Ashlin Albright, 10, had a different idea.

Albright went from watching her dad weld in their home workshop to being his business partner.

“I just like to always hang out with daddy and it caught on,” she said.

“Pretty much on a weekly basis, somebody is contacting us wanting something,” said Mark Albright, Ashlin’s father.

Ashlin has a knack for taking wood and metal and transforming it into beautiful home décor - including Christian themed signs, clocks made out of car pistons and snowmen made from horseshoes.

Her work as an entrepreneur started with a different passion.

Ashlin admires 1950s Chevrolets.

“I really like the '55 Chevy Bel Air,” she said.

For her eighth birthday party, she wanted a special invitation.

Her parents thought it would be a good idea to show her sitting on a car.

“The more we looked at cars, the more she fell in love with the cars. Then it was, ‘Can I have one of them?’” said Nina Albright, Ashlin’s mother.

“One day momma said, ‘Why don’t you just start making stuff like your daddy used to do on the side,’” Ashlin explained.

Ashlin saved the money she made from her crafts to buy "Ethel" – a turquoise four-door '55 Chevy Bel Air.

Ashlin wanted four doors so that she would have enough room for her friends once she’s able to drive.

Her love of the Chevy Bel Air models from 1955, 1956 and 1957 inspired her business name "Tri 5 Girl."

Ashlin will use some of the profits to work on Ethel’s engine and give it a new paint job in hopes that the car will be ready for her 16th birthday.

“I’ll drive it every day,” she said.

Ashlin’s work has captured the attention of the maker and manufacturing communities.

The Albright family is currently in talks for Ashlin to attend the upcoming Congressional Maker Caucus according to Joel Leonard, chairman of the Manufacturing Workforce Committee for National Defense Industrial Association.

“We have to build the next generation of skilled technicians because the guys my age are walking out the door,” he said.

Along with running a business, Ashlin is a straight-A student at Seagrove Elementary School.

She will celebrate her first year of business next month.