Target Founding Family Member Bruce Dayton Passes

Bruce Dayton, father of Minnesota’s governor and part of the founding family of what is now Target Corp., has died. He was 97. Brian Cornell, current Target CEO, noted that Bruce and the rest of the Dayton family championed an idea that was “revolutionary” in retail, deciding to combine the best of fashion with the best in discount.

For a period in the 1960s and 1970s, Bruce Dayton served as president of what was then Dayton Co. The company helped establish the modern discount store sector when, in 1962, it opened the first Target store in Roseville, MN.

Cornell stated, “When I joined this storied company, many people offered ideas and advice, but at 96 years young, Bruce Dayton’s words were perhaps the most profound. He truly wanted me to succeed— he wanted Target to succeed— but not for the reasons you might think. His focus wasn’t on protecting his legacy, but rather, about furthering the commitment to community he began so many years ago. That notion is one of the Dayton family’s core philosophies: Companies’ fortunes are intrinsically linked to the health and vitality of the communities in which they operate. And Bruce understood this long before almost anyone else.”

Cornell added, “Bruce’s record of achievement is remarkable: building the first indoor shopping mall, pioneering the concept of discount retail, founding a company that would become one of the largest private-sector employers in the world. But as much as I am in awe of Bruce’s accomplishments, it is his legacy of generosity that I will always remember the most.”