(Jan. 10) PLEASANTON, Calif. — The former director of e-commerce marketing for The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic is moving to navy beans and bananas, as president of online retailer GroceryWorks.

On Jan. 8, Mitchell Rhodes joined GroceryWorks, Safeway Inc.’s exclusive online delivery service, which focuses on West Coast markets. Through Safeway.com, GroceryWorks serves San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash. In Southern California, GroceryWorks operates Vons.com. On Jan. 13, the company launched the Vons service in Las Vegas.

“We’ve gotten off to a really good start in all of our markets,” said Mark Marymee, director of public relations for GroceryWorks. “We think now is a good time for somebody like Mitch to help us improve what we’re offering to customers.”

The company hasn’t announced any further expansions in service. GroceryWorks started in Dallas, later dropping service there and moving to California after Safeway bought a 50% stake in the company. United Kingdom retailer Tesco PLC has a 35% ownership in the company.

Marymee said Safeway’s brand recognition and Tesco’s track record as an online retailer, along with a switch from a warehouse-supplied program to an in-store supply chain, has brought success to GroceryWorks’ West Coast operations. Tesco is the world’s leading online grocery retailer.

For a fee, “shoppers” in Safeway and Vons stores fill online orders, which are delivered. Marymee said customers have responded favorably to produce options, allowing them to select the ripeness, color and size of different items.

“It’s paid off greatly for us,” he said “The sales of fresh produce for our typical (online) shopper is higher than the average for the typical shopper at Safeway or Vons.”

Marymee said personal shoppers are trained in selecting produce and interacting with produce managers to ensure customer requests are met.

Rhodes replaces Gary Rocheleau, who rejoined Safeway. Rhodes joined The Gap in 1997; before that, he was business director of Kraft Foods’ $650 million cheese division.