Obit of the Day: Founder of Target
In the early 1960’s a new upstart in discount retailing, K-Mart, was seen as a looming threat to traditional department stores. In Minnesota, the Dayton family, owners of Dayton’s department stores decided to confront the new challenger.
Under the leadership of Douglas Dayton, the youngest son of the department store’s founder Gerald Dayton, the company created an “upscale” discount retailer.
The name “Target” was chosen because: "As a marksman’s goal is to hit the center bulls-eye, the new store would do much the same in terms of retail goods, services, commitment to the community, price, value and overall experience." The first of four stores would open on May 1, 1962 in Roseville, Minnesota. The store attempted to differentiate itself from K-Mart by offering a department store customer service experience with discount prices.
The offspring of Dayton’s would eventually surpass its parent (which was later purchased by Macy’s). In 1979, Target would pass the $1 billion mark in sales. As of 2013 there are over 1800 stores in the U.S. and Canada, and the company was ranked #36 on the Fortune 500. (The Dayton family left the company in 1983.)
Douglas Dayton, who left Target in 1974, died on July 5, 2013 at the age of 88.
Random note: Mr. Dayton also created B. Dalton Booksellers, which had more retail sales than any bookstore in the U.S. in the 1980s. The store was named for him except for replacing the “y” in Dayton with an “l.”
(Image is copyright of Target Corp. and courtesy of their website)
In May 2011 Obit of the Day featured Lewis Joseph, manager of Target’s first store in Roseville.