Allegra Fasnacht for Maui Weekly
Even if you can’t pronounce it, you should know what it is. What does it take to become one of the largest companies on Maui? For Steven Schorr, it took six greenhouses, 15 employees, and a 6,000-year-old idea. Schorr is chairman and CEO of Bioponic Phytoceuticals, a $43 million company that was the first from Maui to go public in 37 years (since Maui Land & Pine in 1969). The company has created a revolutionary technique using distillation, the evaporation and subsequent collection of a liquid by condensation as a means of purification. Simply put, liquid is heated, becomes vapor, cold water is added, and purified water is the result. This produces unique, exotic alternative medicines for ailments large and small.
He and the vice-president, his son Hamiel, are still trying to get the word out about who they are and what they do. “Our marketing plan is global,” said Schorr, referring to their recent partnership with Amazon.com, “but I really hope that Maui takes an interest. Our products are steeped in Hawaiiana, from our raw materials to our medicinal point of view.”
Schorr said his greatest influence on Maui was the late Auntie Mahi Poe Poe, a kupuna raised in the old Hawaiian tradition and, as Schorr tells it, a visionary. “She came to my door, and said that a kupuna came to her in her dreams to say that she had to work with me,” he said. In 2003, they created a line of Auntie Mahi Poe Poe la‘au lapa‘au tonics together, and Schorr provided thousands of bottles to her clinics for free.