Floore Country Store (also called Floore’s Country Store or John T. Floore Country Store), located at 14492 Old Bandera Road in Helotes, was opened in 1946 by entrepreneur John T. Floore. Floore left his job as manager of the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio and moved to Helotes where he bought land and started the Floore subdivision by the early 1940s. Soon after, Floore built a grocery store in order to cater to the heavy travel between San Antonio and Bandera. In addition to the store Floore constructed a dance hall which included what Floore billed as “the largest patio in the Southwest.” The outdoor patio holds up to 2,000 people, and the indoor venue can accommodate 400.
By the 1950s Floore’s Store began to attract country music notables such as Ray Price, Bob Wills, Johnny Cash, and Ernest Tubb. Then in the 1960s Floore began his association with a young Willie Nelson, with whom he developed a personal and professional relationship that would last for decades. Floore, who established a partnership with the Willie Nelson Music Company, stipulated that Nelson play at the Store once a month without performing anywhere else in the immediate area. For years Nelson and Floore continued their close relationship, and Nelson even wrote one of his best-known songs, “Shotgun Willie,” as a tribute to Floore’s entrepreneurial skills. In 1973 Floore sold the Store to his cook, Joe Algueseva, just two years before John Floore died in 1975.
Under the management of Algueseva and his wife, Estella, the Store continued to book a variety of live music acts, and it also developed a reputation for excellent homemade tamales and bread. The Alguesevas retired in 1990 and sold the Store to Steve Laughlin, a Helotes native who, like Floore, had worked at the Majestic Theatre. Laughlin ran the Store for twelve years before it was bought by a group of San Antonio investors under the direction of Mark McKinney.
The new investors made some minor alterations to the Store but kept the essential look intact. They replaced the roof, repaired wiring, installed central air-conditioning and heat, and bought new outdoor furniture, although they did not change the inside décor. The autographed photos that line the walls, alongside cowboy hats, dusty boots, and farm tools, all were left in their original places. The San Antonio investors also expanded the weekday hours of the Store by opening the Honky Tonk Café which offered both lunch and dinner. Dances were still held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with Sundays remaining a free Family Night.
Over the years a number of well-known musicians, including Merle Haggard, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Earl Keen, Hal Ketchum, George Jones, and Tammy Wynette, have performed at Floore’s. Such popular bands as Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, the Texas Tornados, and Asleep at the Wheel have played there as well. Other celebrities, including Patrick Swayze, Meg Ryan, and former President George Herbert Walker Bush, all have visited Floore’s. In the 1990s part of the movie 8 Seconds (1994) starring Luke Perry was filmed at the Store’s bar. In 2006 Floore Country Store received a Texas Historical Marker.