The company was founded in 1972 by Guido Schaffrath and was originally called Schaffrath Sport, which was later changed to Tornado Sport Schaffrath. At the time, Guido Schaffrath was sales manager in Germany for a major brand in the food industry. He bought a tennis stringing machine in order to earn some money on the side. His clientele soon grew and so Guido decided to import and sell strings, grips, balls and tennis racquets from Germany. One of his first brands was the racquet brand Tornado, which now no longer exists, but which gave the company its name. Guido is still looking for an original Tornado racquet dating back to those days...
The garage over which he lived soon needed to be remodelled to become a tennis specialist shop. In 1981 Guido decided to quit his job in Germany and devote himself to his sports shop full-time. With his first two employees, Mia Prumpeler (who sadly passed away in 2006) and Jan Maassen (who is still active as a sales manager at Lowa Benelux) he moved the company from his garage to a real shop in Kloosterstraat in Simpelveld. The large warehouse behind the shop allowed the wholesale activities to be expanded as well. Besides the Völkl tennis racquets, which Tornado Sport had been importing since 1976, Völkl skis were added to the product range. The range of brands imported by Tornado Sport steadily grew during the '80s. Paul Koster, who now works as a sales manager at Tornado Sport, came to join the ranks of the field organization in 1986.
As early as 1987 it was decided to focus on the import and distribution of sports articles rather than the retail trade. The shop was exchanged for an office and warehouse at Remigiusberg, also in Simpelveld. In 1989 Tornado Sport became the official importer of Lowa, the German brand of hiking and skiing shoes. In the first year 300 pairs of Lowa shoes were sold in the Benelux. Guido's youngest son, Mark, came to work for the company, combining office duties with field work. More space was needed again in 1991. A new building was found in Landgraaf, with offices and a 300m2 warehouse. This move marked the end of the company's retail activities. Dana Willeme (administrative worker, now head of administration) was the fifth employee to be hired.
1992 was a crucial year. Both Völkl and Lowa experienced difficulties on an international scale. Völkl was taken over by a private invester in a joint venture with the Swiss importer of Völkl. The owner of Lowa, the Lederer family, sold Lowa to the Italian competitor Tecnica, who was mainly known at that time for its original "moonboot". Giancarlo Zanatta, the owner of Tecnica, soon asked Tornado Sport to become the importer of Tecnica as well. Therefore the company was split up in Tornado Sport BV and Lowa Benelux BV in 1993. After all, Lowa and Tecnica sold competing
Dirk Schaffrath took over the management of his father's company in 1997/1998. Guido decided to focus on working on his golf handicap after 1 January 1999. Dirk introduced the name TCK Sports Group as a collective name for Lowa Benelux BV and Tornado Sport BV. Dirk will not say what TCK stands for, just that it is somehow related to his past as a computer whizz kid and no, the C doesn't stand for computer...
With a reinforced focus and marketing vision the range of brands was extended and the new brands were successfully introduced on the Benelux market. Between 1999 and 2001 the company became the importer of Marker, Uvex, Deuter, Leki and Rohner. Ortlieb, Schöffel and Montana followed later on. In late 2007 the holding was extended with a third company which made TCK Sports Group the proud distributor of the top brands X-Socks and X-Bionic. Of course this new company has its own team of sales representatives in addition to a fine office crew in order to represent these brands in the Benelux at full force.