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The Target Corporation
Adrien Saulais
North Georgia College and State University

History

Target Corporation is one of the biggest companies in the world and is the second largest discount retailer in the United States. The business was founded by George Draper Dayton in the late 19th century. After several years of research of exploring the growing Midwest markets Mr. Dayton decided to purchase land in Minneapolis and open a store called the Dayton Dry Goods Company in 1902. It was identified that Minneapolis offered the strongest opportunities for retailer growth and with the principles that Mr. Dayton incorporated in the business; Target has now become a leader in the retailing world.

After increased revenue, traffic flow and growth, the store was renamed Dayton Company to reflect its wide assortments of goods and services in 1911. With an established culture and reputation of giving to society Mr. Dayton created The Dayton Foundation in 1918 with a $1 million donation with a primary purpose of helping the wellbeing of people everywhere in the world. This shaped the culture that many businesses would incorporate in their company’s values. With merchandise shipments coming from New York to Minneapolis the company faced an issue in 1920 when a strike between the freight-handlers prevented merchandise arriving at the store. Mr. Dayton solved the problem by ambitiously using airplanes to transport the items to the store. 400 pounds of merchandise was picked up by two planes and delivered to the Minnesota store on Nicollet Avenue. With this imagination coming to reality, and the planes landing to a large ovation, this solution introduced a new method of transportation across the country. Mr. Dayton passed away in 1938 and the business was handed down to his son George N. Dayton who was named the new President. To emphasis on the company’s culture of giving to society, five percent of profits were given back to the community starting in 1946. The Dayton Company became the second business to have a fixed amount of continuous giving. With revenues and customer traffic flow still rapidly increasing stores were established in suburban areas to meet the needs of busy families. The Dayton Company strategically placed itself in the Southdale Mall, the first enclosed mall in the United States with leading competitors all under that same roof. This strategy paved the way for more Dayton’s being built in other malls within the Minneapolis metropolitan area. To increase and strengthen its target audience, The Dayton Company introduced a mass-market discount store in 1960 to appeal to value-orientated shoppers that want a high-quality experience. This changed the company’s culture of being a family department store chain to the second largest discount retailer in the country. On May 1, 1962, the first Target store was opened in Roseville, Minneapolis with the iconic red and white bulls-eye logo. This symbol was chosen because it complements the company’s vision of hitting the center bulls-eye of price, value and overall experience for customers. In 1967, Dayton’s changes itself from a regional department-store company to a national retailer and goes public on the 6th of September. With new Target stores being opened across the country including metropolitan areas such as Houston, Dallas and St. Louis, the company decided to update the logo that is now present today. With the removal of a white and red ring, the new logo had a direct and memorable look. By 1978, the leadership legacy of the Dayton’s came to an end. The company needed to recruit talent to succeed in a growing and competitive retail environment and organization success was now a main priority. Five years later, Bruce Dayton and Kenneth Dayton retired from the Board of Directors ending 80 years of family involvement with the company. In 1988, after a few years of testing and implementing...
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