Harold Winkler was raised in the music publishing industry. His father, Max Winkler, worked his way up from stock boy at Carl Fischer to be president of famed Belwin Music Publishing Company in New York. As a strong support of the emerging school music market following World War II, Harold became a founder of NASMD National Association of School Music Dealers. In 1951 Winkler and his wife, Luverne, formed Harlu Music, a specialized school music retailer that would later venture out into school music publishing. The Harlu name was derived from the first syllable of their first names and became a leader in the industry.