by Brian Lipton
Bruce Dayton
Bruce B. Dayton

Bruce B. Dayton, a retailing giant and one of the founders of Target, died in Orono, Minnesota on Friday, November 13 at the age of 97, according to published reports.

Dayton and his four brothers inherited Minneapolis department store company Dayton Co., after their father’s death in 1950. The company then opened the first enclosed shopping center, The Southland Center, in Edina, Minnesota in 1956. They later opened the first Target store in 1962, later merged with Detroit-based J.L. Hudson Co. in 1969 and then became Target Corp. in 2000. Dayton held a variety of positions within these companies, including a stint as CEO and chairman.

Dayton, who was a graduate of Yale University, also founded the B. Dalton Bookseller in 1966, which the company sold to Barnes & Noble in 1986.

He was a board member of the Minneapolis Institute of Art for 73 years and gave more than $80 million to the institution during his lifetime.

Dayton is survived by his wife, Ruth Stricker Dayton; his sons Mark Dayton, the governor of Minnesota, and Brandt; daughters Lucy and Anne; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.