By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Long gone are the days when Eric Dayton was primarily known for being Gov. Mark Dayton’s son.

This week alone, the 37-year-old CEO of Askov Finlayson is rolling out a new partnership with Target as well a new initiative for his climate-conscious clothing company.

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The limited-edition line of “North” labeled products will be in select Target stores this Sunday. The line’s look book models include the Wild’s Zach Parise and former Viking Ben Lieber.

The Target line is modeled after the line of hats and other North-labeled products that debuted in 2013 at Askov Finlayson, the North Loop clothing store Dayton founded with his brother, Andrew, in 2011.

“It’s a chance to show our pride,” Dayton said, speaking on the company’s North-branded wears. “It’s a chance to tell this north story to the rest of the country, to the rest of the world.”

The partnership with Target has special meaning for Dayton, as his grandfather founded the store in 1962.

“For me, given my family’s history there, it was all the more meaningful,” Dayton said.

He says he’s thrilled that the North label is suddenly everywhere, including the branding for Super Bowl LII.

“To see it really popping up with the Super Bowl and with professional sports teams certainly exceeded our initial expectations of what this could become,” he said.

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Askov Finlayson announced earlier this week the business will be calculating the cost of their carbon footprint and donating 110 percent of that number to climate change causes.

“110 percent every year to support innovation to keep the north cold,” Dayton said.

Dayton’s advocacy for all things winter even prompted The Star Tribune to feature him on a recent magazine cover, which called him the “King of the Cold.”

But Dayton says his efforts for the North aren’t really about him.

“This isn’t about me,” he said. “This has really become a movement.”

The movement is one that Dayton and his wife, Cornelia, are already passing on to their sons: Hugo, 4, and George, who is almost 1.

“To see winter through the eyes of a 4-year-old and rediscover that childhood joy of winter is just a lot of fun to see,” he said.

The Target-Askov Finlayson launch will be celebrated Sunday at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis with an event for the public that will include free tubing, dogsledding and life-sized bubble hockey.

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As part of the partnership, Target and Askov Finlayson will also provide grants to a local nonprofit that will allow low income children to experience winter activities.

Esme Murphy