The Story of Dayton Company

By Phin Upham

George Draper Dayton founded the Target Corporation in 1902, opting for Dayton Dry Goods Company in 1903. The name was shortened to Dayton Company in 1911. By 1962 Dayton had dropped his name in favor of adopting “Target,” the moniker we know today.

Target was supposed to be something like a discount department store, not unlike the old Mervyn’s chain that Target Corporation eventually bought. Target remained the company’s strongest revenue producer and it continued to build on the variety of goods offered to consumers. Before 1980, the company’s annual revenue was a staggering $1 billion.

By the middle of that decade, Target had debuted the Super Target store that can still be found today. An even bigger version of its retail offerings, Super Targets made a name for themselves offering a photo studio and dining establishments. Soon pharmacies and grocery aisles were added to bring even more service.

Unlike WalMart, Target stores have a strict no firearm policy in place. They do not sell guns at any location, and ceased selling even toy guns beginning in the 1990s. Target also posts signs “respectfully” requesting customers leave firearms at home before shopping at the store. The company also does not sell cigarettes, a practice it has held to since 1996.

Target has donated more than 5% of its revenue to cities that it operates in, effectively giving back to the communities it benefits from. It went one step further in 2005, creating a partnership with the Salvation Army in order to accept donations for needy families online. Perhaps it is this willingness to give back that makes Target so endearing for so many people.

About the Author: Phin Uphamis an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Twitter page.