Old Ways Still Work For 21st Century Customers

What would become Target's signature bullseye first took seed near the turn of the 20th century, when the Dayton Dry Goods Company was founded. Mass and depth are probably apt descriptors of the company's measured strategy, which a century later has earned it instant recognition. As a matter of fact, current news of reaching its $1 billion goal for education was foreshadowed by a 1946 decision to donate 5 percent of pretax profits to the community and an impressive set of philanthropic and environmentally sensitive initiatives. Add to that a not-so small list of sought after designers, appealing price points and a healthy collection of goods—including the kitchen sink—and you have a solid Walmart rival.

The red circles first became a symbol of one-stop shopping in 1962, when the Dayton Company opened the first Target store in Minnesota. A scant eight years later employee volunteers marked the company's first Earth Day engagement with tree planting and the mass merchandiser has been making and going green ever since.

Still, don't let progressive corporate philanthropy and multimedia moxie fool ya. Target's strategy comes straight from the Pre-Industrial Business Manual: Dig, plant and spread. Repeat.

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