In 1934, Canadian Tire opened its first official associate store in Hamilton, Ontario and over the next twenty years the Billes brothers expanded into a full line of automotive products and then added home and garden supplies. William Billes oversaw the most successful Canadian owned and operated franchise in the country's history that would expand into a nationwide network of dealer operated associate stores. He died unexpectedly in November 1956 as a result of complications from pernicious anemia. He bequeathed his shares in Canadian Tire to twenty-three different charitable organizations.
Following its formation in 1979, William Billes was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.