Thanks, all! I'm going to give these suggestions a try.
I'm new to ASP and shopping carts/VP-ASP, but I managed a temporary work-around that displays a blurb of text on the top-level shopdisplaycategories.asp page. I'm just not sure it's a terribly clean way to do things.
I added a "<!--#include file="frontpagetext.asp"-->" statement to shoppage_header.htm, then in frontpagetext.asp, put this:
if Session("currenturl")="shopdisplaycategories.asp" then
if highercategoryid="0" then
response.write "Front page text"
It seems to display my front page text only on the top level, without breaking subcategory pages. But again, it doesn't seem very clean to me!