Graham Tiso is a proficient mountaineer, climbing to a high standard in both summer and winter. In 1961, he meets Maude who has just returned from working and climbing in Norway. Both are acutely aware of the lack of good equipment and clothing available in Scotland. But utilising his business skills and first-hand knowledge of technical equipment, Graham is sure he can fill this gap in the market.
In 1962, Graham and Maude begin trading from the back room of a boat shop in Canonmills, Edinburgh. In the autumn of that year, they open their first stand-alone store on Rodney Street, Edinburgh. The shop is stocked with products bought on the continent, and transported back to Scotland in the family campervan.
The Rodney Street store relocates to Wellington Place, Leith. It has enough space to display tents and show off a wider range of products. Meanwhile, Graham Tiso works with key brands on equipment innovation, such as Salewa, Berghaus and Helly Hansen.
Tiso Stirling opens as our first shop in a high street location. Number of employees? Just ten outdoor lovers.
Our Rose Street store in the heart of Edinburgh opens its doors. It remains a flagship shop today, having become a fixture within the Tiso estate and Scottish retail landscape.
We expand again, opening a Tiso store at Netherkirkgate, Aberdeen.
Another new shop pops up in one of the UK’s top retail destinations: Glasgow’s Buchanan Street.
Graham Tiso dies in a tragic accident. The company takes on Limited status with Chris (his son) as CEO and Maude as Chairman. All three brothers – Donald, Rory and Chris – are now working in the business together.
Tiso’s first Outdoor Experience store opens in Leith. This is the first shop of its kind in the UK. Inside are waterproof testing cabinets, a boot test path and a stove test area. Head Office and the Warehouse are also inside the building.
A second Outdoor Experience store is opened in Glasgow by Maude Tiso and Polly Murray. Polly has just returned from Everest, being the first Scottish woman to summit. When GOE opens, it is the largest outdoor retail outlet in Europe and sets a new standard for outdoor retail in the UK.
Returning to our climbing roots, we open a new store at Ratho’s International Climbing Arena.
Perth Outdoor Experience launches, signifying the next stage of the Outdoor Experience concept. The store – which features Alpine Bikes, Blues, a climbing wall, soft play centre and an 100 seat café – quickly establishes flagship status.
Tiso acquires Blues the Ski Shop from founder Graeme Spinks. The companies have been working together as partners for over 25 years. Subsequently, Blues opens in Perth and Aberdeen, and the latter store moves to a larger premises on John Street.
We celebrate our 50th anniversary with the ‘Spirit of Adventure’ lecture series, featuring Polly Murray, Guy Grieve and Mark Beaumont.
Scotland’s first Trek store opens at Tiso Glasgow Outdoor Experience.
JD Sports invests in Tiso Group, allowing us to grow and develop our fascias which include Alpine Bikes, Blues the Ski Shop and George Fisher.
We relaunch the bigger and better Tiso.com in October.
Inspiration for our future
Graham was a valued member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club and was largely responsible for resolving the problems relating to guidebooks in the 1970s. That action resulted in the formation of the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, which has contributed large sums of money to restore and care for wild land.
Graham’s passion for the mountains and outdoors carries on in the Tiso ethos today. The company gets so much out of nature, it seems right that we give something back. We continue to support outdoors groups, whether that be Scouts Scotland, John Muir Trust or Scottish Mountain Rescue.
Watch Our Video Below for More of Our History