Target Corporation Founder Douglas Dayton Dies

Target’s founder and first president is credited with helping reshape U.S. retail.

Douglas Dayton, the founder of Target Corporation, died Friday at the age of 88.

Dayton is credited with helping reshape U.S. retail when he launched the first Target store in Roseville in 1962.

His wife Wendy told Businessweek that he died at his home in Wayzata, following a long battle with cancer.

Dayton was the youngest of five Dayton brothers, and he took over their father’s Dayton’s Department Store in downtown Minneapolis in the 1940s, according to the Star Tribune, which on Saturday detailed Dayton’s contributions as a businessman and philanthropist. In 1960, he and a like-minded Dayton’s merchandiser began planning the launch of what eventually became Target, the newspaper reported. Dayton served as Target’s first president.

Today, the Minneapolis-based retailer is a Fortune 500 company and is Minnesota’s second largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $73.3 billion in its most recent fiscal year.

His nephew, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, said in a statement that Dayton was “an extraordinary businessman, philanthropist, and leader of our family.”

“With his typical modesty, Doug didn’t claim the public recognition he deserved for his success,” Mark Dayton said. “Yet what an enormous difference his business acumen has made for thousands of Target employees, customers, and charitable causes.”

Today, Target operates 1,832 stores, and it is continuing to expand in Canada. Before launching in Canada in March, the company employed about 361,000.