Tuesday, October 13, 2015

George Draper Dayton

Through the course of the twentieth century, George Draper Dayton, his children and his grandchildren built a retail empire known initially as Dayton’s then as the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, and now as the Target Corporation.

The son of David Day Dayton M.D and Caroline Wesley Draper Dayton, George Draper Dayton was born in Clifton Springs, New York on March 6, 1857. Eight generations earlier, a shoemaker named Ralph Dayton sailed from County Kent, England, to New Haven, Connecticut, later settling in East Hampton, New York.

Draper Dayton was raised in a deeply religious home. Caroline Dayton came from a long line of Methodist ministers and David Dayton was a leader of the First Presbyterian Church of Geneva.
George Draper Dayton
Dayton went to work for George McMillan, a businessman in nearby Eddytown, who had interest in coal, lumber, a nursery and a vineyard.

Draper Dayton was such a diligent salesperson that within a year, McMillan owed him $1500 which he couldn’t pay. Draper Dayton agreed to buy the company out and at 17 years old Dayton was a business owner.

At the age of twenty-four Dayton traveled to Minnesota to investigate some central New York businessmen’s investments. He reported back with deep concerns and was finally convinced to move to Worthington, take over the Bank of Worthington and fix the problem.

In 1902, he became a silent partner in a retail enterprise in Minneapolis that he and son Draper Dayton soon opened the first Dayton’s Store and transformed into a large department store.

Son George Nelson Dayton joined the enterprise in 1911, and the Dayton Company continued to reap sizeable profits. The Dayton brothers kept Dayton’s prospering until Draper died in 1923.

During Nelson’s 27 years as head of the company, he and his associates built it into on of the great stores of America. When George Nelson Dayton retired in the 1940s, his five sons took over the company.

In the next few decades Dayton’s expanded dramatically, starting the firts Target store in 1962, going public in 1967, merging with retailer Hudson’s in 1969 and buying Mervyn’s California in 1978.

Dayton family members stopped managing the company when Kenneth Dayton retired in 1983. By 2000, Dayton-Hudson Corporation had 1200 stores in 44 states. On January 20, 2000, the corporation renamed itself the Target Corporation.
George Draper Dayton 

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