Chris Anderson joined American Covers, Inc. (DBA HandStands) in 2002, at the age of 25, in a business development capacity. At the time, HandStands was a 19-year old manufacturer of computer accessories, with the majority of its $10 Million in annual revenue generated from the selling of mouse pads in the office superstore (Staples, Office Max, etc.) and advertising specialty channels.
After identifying the Car Air Freshener market as an area of opportunity, Chris led HandStands’ entrance into this category in 2003. HandStands’ incursion into the auto fragrance business was supported by new product innovation; and, subsequently, led to Chris’ first issued US utility patent.
In addition to establishing an innovation program within HandStands that launched more top-10 NPD new items each year, from 2004 – 2014, than all other competitors combined, Chris also established the HandStands 360 Degree Category Management program, which ultimately resulted in HandStands being appointed Category Captain at such retailers as: Walmart, Target, Auto Zone, Dollar General, Halford’s (UK) and Meijer, among others.
In 2010, after serving in various leadership positions within the organization, Chris added the title of CEO to his prior role of President. During this same year, and within eight years of selling its first car air freshener, HandStands had risen to become the NPD, IRI and Nielsen US #1 market share leader.
In 2013, after ten years of consecutive double-digit growth, Chris guided HandStands through a majority recapitalization with Trivest Partners (a Florida-Based Private Equity Firm). This recapitalization resulted in a meaningful liquidity event for HandStands shareholders; and, equally important, it provided HandStands with the platform to pursue an aggressive M&A add-on acquisition strategy, to compliment the company’s organic growth.
Following Trivest’s investment, Chris continued to serve as President, CEO and HandStands Board Member, and was chiefly responsible for establishing and executing the company’s go-to-market strategy, while also overseeing HandStands’ international expansion and entrance into adjacent categories through the launch of innovative, patent-pending, products such as Refresh Your Car® Antibacterial Wipes.
During the Trivest sponsorship period, Chris was also responsible for setting HandStands’ M&A strategy. In executing on HandStands’ M&A initiative, Chris sourced, closed and integrated three highly successful add-on acquisitions (Lexol®, California Scents® and Eagle One®). These three acquisitions were complementary across product formats, customers/channels and geographies, and resulted in significant synergy realization as part of their respective integrations –while growing all three acquired revenue bases via effective cross-selling.
By 2016, HandStands EBITDA reached $34 Million (double the level at the time of Trivest’s investment in 2013, and more than 30 X the level when Chris joined the company), and its products were distributed in over 100 countries throughout the world. Domestically, HandStands continued to lead the Auto Fragrance market with an NPD #1 share and deep penetration of the mass, food, drug, automotive, dollar, convenience, home/hardware, electronics, office supply and warehouse channels. In July of 2016, HandStands was sold to Energizer Holdings in a $340 Million all-cash deal.
In 2017, Chris lead a group of investors in the carve out of the "Legacy" HandStands Mouse Pad and Promotional Products business unit from Energizer. Under Chris’ leadership, this stand-alone business grew rapidly, and Chris then guided it to a strategic acquisition by private equity-backed HUB Promotional Group in late 2018.
Also in 2018, Chris guided PE-backed JB Weld Company, LLC in sourcing and closing its first add-on acquisition (the Fiber Fix® brand of tapes and adhesives), and he also helped position Ellery Homestyles (a PE-backed New York-based designer and marketer of branded home fashion accessories), in its highly-successful strategic sale process (in his role of board member).
In addition to HandStands Products / HUB Promotional Group, Chris currently serves on the boards of JB Weld (a leading manufacturer and marketer of branded adhesive products), Durham Brands (a fast-growing innovator in the branded girls and women's hair accessory category), and Millburn & Co. (a real estate investment firm, with over $1.3 Billion in assets across the U.S., focusing on the multifamily housing sector).
Chris is a Summa Cum Laude Economics (BS) graduate of Westminster College, and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife Jamie and their four children. Chris enjoys spending time with his family along with flying, boating, snow sports and serving others.