By Amelia Santaniello

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fifty years ago today, Target was born out of the basement of the downtown Dayton’s.

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A half-century and 1,800 stores later, the national chain is still proud of its Minnesota roots.

“It began as Dayton’s downstairs,” said Shawn Gensch, senior vice president at Target. “This was the place the Dayton family had for some more commodity or essentials-driven items.”

Douglas Dayton decided to try out the discount concept in the suburbs in 1962, building the first suburban store in Roseville, naming it Target.

“It was actually the internal marketing team, or creative team within Dayton’s that defined Target as sort of exactly what guests needed at that point in their lives,” Gensch said.

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The 50 years have been characterized by change, from the red vests of the ’70s to the red and tan dress code of today. From the discount store of the early days, to the designer brands Target started adding in the early ’90s.

Target even added groceries, although as it turns out, that wasn’t so new.

“The first store in Roseville, T-1 as we refer to it, actually opened with groceries,” Gensch said.

As Target expands into Canada next year, the company remains connected to its home state.

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“The legacy of Minnesota, and the giving back to community and doing service, is something that’s part of our DNA,” Gensch said. “And we’re very proud of that.”

Amelia Santaniello