UCG is operated daily by (our mom and grandma) Hayat Rababy, her children and grandchildren. Since starting in airports in 1982, UCG has owned and operated numerous airport businesses and enjoyed impressive growth over the years, with responsible growth projections for the future.. Today the large extended family works side by side to ensure the continuing success of the family business they love.. Hayat has spent her career in airports and is proud that her family shares her passion for serving airport guests with new, fresh concepts and award-winning service at many outlets in numerous different airports. UCG’s 40-year history has been dedicated to delivering the highest quality service in airports by selling only the highest quality products and fresh innovative cuisine in a family-friendly atmosphere. UCG knows the value of being open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Helping passengers Travel Well. Eat Well. Be Well. is an around the clock commitment and UCG will be there to carry it out. With operations in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Washington Dulles, the Rababy family’s second and third generations are energetic, innovative and ready to continue the family traditions of constantly improving the airport concession experience and attracting exclusive rights to the hottest culinary trends.
Over the years, much has changed, but the commitment UCG made to the traveler back in 1972 will never waiver.
Timeline 1972 - Joseph and Hayat Rababy moved their family to the United States from war-ravished Lebanon to find a better place to raise their children and pursue the American Dream. 1979 - Strongsville Tobacco Trading Company, Inc (STTC) was started by Joseph Rababy Sr. and his business partner and wife, Hayat Rababy, as a cigar store in Strongsville, Ohio. 1982 - The Rababys pursued their first airport location, and The Tobacco Gourmet opened in the main mall area of Cleveland International Airport. 1984 - As an answer to many prayers, another opportunity arose for the company to expand with the CLE Fruit & Nut Co. 1998 - After carving a unique niche and proving themselves as a company dedicated to customer services, the Rababys were granted a lease extension on both locations. 2002 - In response to changes in security post 9-11 in Cleveland, the Coffee Zone opened as a temporary location in under 24-hours, generating close to $1m in sales in nine months. 2003 - Responding to more changes, the CLE Fruit & Nut Co. was relocated post-security and the Tobacco Gourmet was renamed the Cleveland Gourmet. 2006 - STTC was renamed United Concessions Group (UCG) to better reflect the current business and keep up with changes in the airport. In addition, UCG opened BanJoe’s Café, which exceeded all expectations and cemented the company’s future in food and beverage. 2008 - United Concessions Group, Inc. entered into a joint venture agreement with the Hudson Group and English Concessions to operate a majority of the news and gift locations in Cleveland. 2009 - A license was granted with local, iconic Paninis Bar and Grill to offer a full service dining experience for customers in the busiest location in Cleveland Airport. 2012 - Local culinary legend and James Beard award winning iron chef, Michael Symon, forged an exclusive agreement with UCG to develop and operate airport locations. The first Bar Symon PIT opened shortly after in PIT Airport as a joint venture between UCG and the Paradies Shops. 2015 - After being awarded a coveted Chick-fil-A franchise in Cleveland, UCG became the fifth company in the world to operate this franchise in airports. 2015 - Through a competitive bid with Concessions International, UCG was awarded and opened their second Bar Symon IAD location and another DC Craft Brews inside of Dulles Airport. 2015 - The patriarch of the Rababy family, Joseph, sadly died after a long battle with cancer. Although we miss him dearly, his legacy lives on every day in the hearts of all he touched. 2016 - In response to growing need for better brands, UCG forged an agreement to partner with Potbelly Sandwich on a new location inside of Cleveland Airport. 2017 - Since winning numerous industry awards celebrating their superior hospitality, UCG announced that they will be bringing a third Bar Symon CLE to Cleveland Airport in the spring. 2020 - Spencer Shaw was promoted to the position of Executive Vice President and was the first person in the company’s rich 40-year history to be a non-family member leader of the company. 2020 - Hayat and Joe’s sons Joseph and David Rababy were appointed to the Untied Concessions Group, Inc Board of Directors rounding out the voting members of the exclusively family controlled board at 7. 2021 - UCG Acquires Akron-Canton Airport food, beverage, and retail operations, becoming the sole concessionaire in the regional airport.